Harpur’s “A Mid-Summer Noon in the Australian Forest” written in 1851 and Kendall’s “Bell-Birds” written in 1869 were the topic for this week! In comparing the two I found myself taking a particular interest towards Harpur’s poem. His opening line, “Not a bird disturbs the air. / there is quite everywhere;” was enough to capture my attention. I interpreted his lexical choice of ‘disturbs’ as negative and although after reading some reviews describing the quietness as peaceful, I cannot shake the feeling I get from this description. It makes me feel uneasy by him implying the natural sounds of the forest such as birds have the ability to disturb the peace. When in my opinion the tweets, chirps, ruffling of leaves and birds flocking are what make natural environments such as the forest more peaceful and serene. I believe Harpur layers this idea of stillness with more tension and alluding to something bigger by using words such as ‘mighty’ and ‘broods’. He then brings life to his poem in the 3rd and lengthy stanza where he introduces a beetle or dragon, a mysterious insect comparable to a precious gem and surrounded by positive imagery. This is seen as he says “gleams through the air” and “rising in the sunshine”. By the end of the poem we see Harpur is inspired by all he has just witnessed in nature leaving the readers feeling very much the same way.
I found Kendall’s poem to be very different to Harpur’s in terms of the overall fact of it being about bell birds,thus noise and not quietness. These are not just quiet birds, they are ones known for their noisy nature and eventually proved to inspire Kendall by the end of the poem. I also really enjoyed how he mentioned the ‘city’ and ‘alleys’ to show a direct contrast on how the environment surrounding you can impact your mind, body and spirit.
I went to the Blue Mountains yesterday and walked down to Wentworth Falls. After all our classes and things I have learnt about the Australian landscape I felt like I enjoyed the experience so much more! I really appreciated our county for its uniqueness. Here are a few pics from my day!