Shuffling along in her broken shoes from the slums,
A blue-eyed lady showing the weather's stain,
Her long dress green and black like a pine in the rain,
Her bonnet much bedraggled, daily she comes
Uphill past the Moreton Bays and the smoky gums
With a sack of bones on her back and a song in her brain
To feed those outlaws prowling about the Domain,
Those furtive she-cats and those villainous toms.
Proudly they step to meet her, they march together
With an arching of backs and a waving of plumy tails
And smiles that swear they never would harm a feather.
They rub at her legs for the bounty that never fails,
They think she is a princess out of a tower,
And so she is, she is trembling with love and power.
Meat, it is true, is meat, and demands attention,
But this is the sweetest moment that they know
Whose courtship even is a hiss, a howl and a blow.
At so much kindness passing their comprehension
—Beggars and rogues who never deserved this pension—
Some recollection of old punctilio
Dawns in their eyes, and as she moves to go
They turn their battered heads in condescension.
She smiles and walks back lightly to the slums.
If she has fed their bodies, they have fed
More than the body in her; they purr like drums,
Their tails are banners and fountains inside her head.
The times are hard for exiled aristocrats,
But gracious and sweet it is to be queen of the cats.
How is language used to represent distinctly Australian visions in Douglas Stewarts Poetry? Use “Snow gum and Lady feeding the cats”
Douglas Stewart is one of the great poets who portray the though and varied landscape, with its flora and fauna using his poetry and diverse vocabulary. His effective use of poetic techniques and high level of imagination combined with passion for Australia gives him the possibility to create poems such as ‘Snow Gum’ that admires a unique Australian landscape. ‘Lady feeding the cats’ is a rather different poem that focuses on the city area rather than the bush. These poems represent distinctly Australian visions and provides a clear image to the reader through various language devices.
‘The Snow Gum’ is a poem which explores an Australian iconic gum tree that grows in the snowy areas of Australia. Douglas Stewart’s vision of the snow gum tree on a sunny day in winter, casting its shadow on the flat snow is conveyed with a variety of imagery and by using various language techniques. The poet uses descriptive language in the second stanza starting from “leaf upon Leaf fidelity” to “Now shown in clear reflection”. This describes the imagery of the gumtree’s reflection on the snow. The word “fidelity” and the repetition of “leaf” combine the idea of a relationship between the tree and its shadow and how they are being faithful to each other. This use of language conveys to the reader how accurate and sharp the shadow is on the show as it copies every movement of the tree. This enables the reader to understand and visualise the scene described by the poet.
The use of personification in the first stanza “Performing its slow miracle” outlines the human like actions done by a non-human object. The reader can “see” the “performance” of the tree its shadow. The word “miracle” also provides a sense of god-like properties that adds to its beauty and nobility. In the last stanza, the repetition of “out of the “in the first two lines coveys a strong separation of the tree from the harsh environmental conditions that face it. The repetition emphasis the barriers against belonging to an alien environment and how it overcame it and stands proudly on the snow. This is a distinctly Australian phenomenon, a gum tree surviving and being so beautiful on the snow, and Douglas Stewart has captures and conveyed this vision through his poetic devices.
“lady Feeding the Cats” is a poem that at an old lady from the slums feeding homeless cats on the road. This is distantly Australian because of the location the poet describes is the Domainwith Moreton bays which is ocated in the heart of Sydney. Douglas Stewart conveys this sense of interactions between humas and animals using a variey of poetic devices. Onomatepia is used such examples “shuffling, “hiss” and “howl” expressing the actions defined by sounds from the lady and the cats. These action words help the reader to “hear” the actions done by characters. The use of descriptive language “Her long dress green … She cats and those villainous toms “provides s strong image through naturalistic imagery to create strong visuals on the reader.
Even though the poet describes a scene of wild cats roaming on the street, he gives a mark of respect to the cats by comparing them to royal soldiers. This use of allusion shown in the second stanza “Proudly they step to meet her … waving of plumy tails”. The port is suggesting these cats are important and well known. The respect continues to lady through the cats’ perspective expressed with the imagery in the second stanza “they think she is a princess out of a tower” showing the poets’ vision of royalty as if she’s from slums; she is a princess to the cats because she survives cats from hunger.
As shown above, the two poems from Douglas Stewart “snow Gum” and “lady Feeding the Cats” represent distinctly Australian visions through the use of poetic devices. The poet’s perspectives of Australian nature and its relationship with humans is conveyed with the use of a variety of language techniques which helps readers share the poet’s distinctly Australian visions.