At Cooloola is a lyrical poem written by a well recognized Australian poet, Judith Wright. This poem creatively describes a beautiful scene of nature. The poet uses highly descriptive language and a diverse range of poetic devices to engage the reader into imagining a picture of how peaceful and serene this exquisite the scenery is down by Lake Cooloola. Underlying the subject matter is the implied theme that the lake is under threat from “conquering people” who will not protect its “white shores of sand, plumreed and paperbark”. This poem reflects Judith Wright’s concern for our special and unique flora and fauna, how fortunate we are to have stunning scenery, how easily mankind can destroy it, and our need to appreciate it.
This poem portrays the unfortunate incident that occurred at Lake Cooloola due to white settlement. This tragic poem captures the essence of the peaceful partnership the wildlife shares with the land.
“Walking on clean sand among prints of bird and animal”
This illustrates the tranquil scene before the massacre of the Aboriginal people took place.
“The invader’s feet will tangle in nets there and his blood be thinned by fears”
This quote from the poem found in stanza three describes how after many years of the invasion, white people started to feel sorry and remorseful for the impact which white settlement had on Aborigines. This relates to Judith Wright’s concern for the Aboriginal people and the land which human settlement has caused to be destroyed by technology. The effective portrayal of poetic devices is developed through the poet’s extravagant use of descriptive language.
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Judith Wright’s knowledgeable use of poetic devices enhances the reader’s enjoyment and understanding of the white invasion that occurred in Australia many years ago through the use of metaphors, imagery and rhyme. “The blue crane fishing” is an example of a metaphor as a crane is a species of bird but it is also a type of rod used for fishing. The poet uses this to show the difference between how the Aborigines used to hunt for food independently and how the settlers who arrived in Australia manufactured food which changed the way Aborigines lived. Throughout this entire poem Wright uses rhyme. For example Stanza Two:
“But I’m a stranger; come of conquering people.I cannot share his calm, who watch his lake,Being loves by all my eyes delight in,and made uneasy, for an old murder’s sake”,
The reason why this is used is because it gives the poem a flowing rhythm which describes how the years just flowed by for the Aborigines (How their times were changed so much).
Although the language contained in the poem is simple, it is extremely effective. The language is accessible through the poet’s use of brief descriptive words.
The main theme which Wright has tried to imply throughout this poem is how badly Aborigines were treated when the white settlers took aver Australia and how they were forced to adopt different ways of living.
Overall Judith Wright’s poem ‘At Cooloola’ has one main meaning which is consistent and clear throughout the six stanzas. The poem effectively explores the notion of the delicacy of our native land and people; this creates a vivid and vibrant picture of remorse and resentment. Consequently, this proposition is reflected throughout her poem by her wide range of language which seems to indicate that her intentions were to give people the knowledge of what our native Australians went through and how the settlement of white people has dramatically destroyed the Australian out back.
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