In last Friday’s tutorial (13.05.2016) we explored the poem “The Cool Green” written by Les Murray. Even though the most influential people get star time on the Australian dollar notes, this poem focuses on what money means to the people in today’s era and what they would be the consequences if they were left to survive without it.
Three main elements stood out to me within this poem that made me rethink the real worth of money. First off, within “The Cool Green” money has become personified like it is something higher than what we physically felt before. More so, it is personified as a God figure plundering our souls, which can be seen in the first line of the first stanza where Murray regards “ Money just a means to our ends?” which focuses on money being the ‘be all or end all’ of human beings in comparison to God who in the Christian belief did begin human life and who could end it.
I also was stunned by the idea that we have ‘willingly’ given our souls away and that we have created this God all on our own. In the 21st century, our world has become increasingly prevalent to the understanding that having materials is deemed as societally correct. “The more invisible the money the vaster and swifter it’s action, exchanging us for shopping malls, rewriting us as cities and style” this entire stanza perpetrates us as individuals being wronged by money. The less we can see and physically hold the more damage it can do and re instating the idea of our souls being swapped for shopping malls and frequency changing the way cities move and the trends that flow all are linked the money.
The question stated in the last stanza, “How did money capture life away from poetry, ideology, religion? It didn’t want our souls.” leaves the most outstanding message of all. The purpose of money wasn’t to take away our spirituality and our beliefs but it did it anyway. The stanza continues then to contradict the rest of the poem through a paradox. Money is obsessed with out lives but not with our souls. This is evident by it’s affects between the past time of literary poetry, idea making and searching and more commonly the pull against an ongoing and sustained religious belief system.
Consequently, Les Murray has created one of the most controversial poems that I have read so far and as a result dives into a materialistic world, run blindly by money.
Les Murray “The Cool Green” Macquarie Pen Anthology of Australian Literature
Hello all, this week’s blog post has my eyes compelled to the words that these two poets have written. In my literary life the names Charles Harpur and Henry Kendall have yet to be of my interests until last Friday. As they both engaged me through their love of the natural scene mainly the bushlands, it intrigued me more and more to see their similarities as well as their differences.
Charles Harpur born in 1813 at a young age was immensely fond of the bush almost as much as his love for his wife Rose (Mary). The poem “A mid-summer noon in the Australian Forest” opaquely compares his love for his beloved Mary and the beauty of the bush. Throughout the poem an evolving impression is made from the silence that brews just from the calmness of the smallest of creatures. It eventuates into the loud intense sounds of life, which is a lot like the rollercoaster which love took him on. I also realised within the third stanza that the pace of the words started to speed up alluding an exciting and dangerous energy when speaking of the hornet. The colourful imagery of the bright yellow hornet’s exuberated charisma is evident as it reflects the strong pace and the rush of life. Harpur expresses this reminding himself that through all the noise the quiet things as well as the silent things in life is what he appreciates the most.
The bond between Charles Harpur and Henry Kendall is special. Even though there is almost a 20 year age difference as Kendall was born in 1839 they both had a common gratitude for the bush. Kendall was a great admirer of Harper and as a result led and aided Kendall when becoming a poet. Harpur’s newly founded protégé wrote the poem “Bell-Birds”. Kendall reveals how he embraces the loud and the quiet noises in the Australian bushland. By comparing the timeframe “They sing in September their songs of the May-time” in the second stanza Kendall indirectly makes these associations to his home country England. The S in September, The M in May, the O in October and the D in December are all capitalised to create a personified movement in time, recognising that the bushes beauty has no time frame that it passes through the comfortable parts of nature. In the final stanza he wishes to have inspiration to write with passion by using the bellbird sounds;
“…Longing for the power and the sweetness to fashion
Lyrics with beats like the heart-beats of passion-
Songs interwoven of lights and of laughters
Borrowed from bell-birds in far forest rafters;…”
Showing that his appreciation lies with the simple things in life such as the sweet sound of chirping Bell-birds.
If you want to read the full poems you can find them in the links below! Have a lovely weekend!!
Macquarie Pen Anthology of Australian Literature – Insight into Harpur and Kendall Pages 99 & 147