‘Time’ by Allen Curnow

I am the nor-west air among the pines

I am the water-race and the rust on railway lines

I am the mileage recorded on the yellow signs.

I am dust, I am distance, I am lupins back of the beach

I am the sums the sole-charge teachers teach

I am cows called to milking and the magpie’s screech.

I am nine o’clock in the morning when the office is clean

I am the slap of the belting and the smell of the machine

I am the place in the park where lovers were seen.

I am recurrent music the children hear

I am level noises in the remembering ear

I am the sawmill and the passionate second gear.

I, Time, am all these, yet these exist

Among my mountainous fabrics like mist,

So do they the measurable world resist.

I, Time, call down, condense, confer

On the willing memory the shapes these were:

I, more than your conscious carrier,

Am island, am sea, am father, farm, and friend,

Though I am here all things my coming attend;

I am, you have heard it, the Beginning and the End.

  

Lupins: type of garden flower

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77 thoughts on “‘Time’ by Allen Curnow

  1. Allen Curnow, who died in 2001, is one of the most celebrated
    New Zealand poets. This poem was written while he was still
    resident in Christchurch. However, it is included in his collection
    Early Days Yet which was published in 1997. These poems,
    both old and recent, had a thematic connection. They appear
    in reverse chronological order and are introduced by a
    quotation from Samuel Butler’s Erewhon:

    ‘The Erewhonians say that we are drawn through life
    backwards; or again that we go onwards into the future
    as into a dark corridor.’

    Line 4: Lupins are a common sight on the South Island
    of New Zealand where they have become wild.
    Line 5: sole-charge teachers are found in about 8% of
    primary schools in New Zealand. These are usually rural
    schools which consist of only one class and one
    teacher in isolated villages.

    The last line ‘I am … the Beginning and the End’ is derived from the Bible:
    Revelation 22:13.

    The poem is in rhyming triplets, unusual in that all three
    lines of each stanza rhyme.

    a. Why does Curnow compare the images of the first four stanzas
    to ‘mist’ in the fifth stanza? There may be more than one reason.
    A clue to some of the implications is in the last line of this stanza.
    b. What patterns of alliteration are evident and what is their effect?
    c. This poem has been called an “autobiography of time.” Would you agree?

  2. The “Time” poem basically refers to defining the meaning of time. In the first four stanzas the poet starts introducing each line by utilizing the phrase ‘I am’, and then goes on in giving examples of where time is seen, how time is seen and used, and what time is. The repetition of the words ‘I am’ represents a metaphor for time, and time it is also being personified with human-like qualities. From stanzas five to seven, the poet mainly focuses on basically saying that time is everything, and he does this by using strong words; such as “ I, time, am all these, yet these exist.” This is a very good way of letting people know/understand what the poem is about, that line is direct to the reader and does not leave us wondering of the meaning of the line. The poet is completely clear with the readers, he makes his points clear and we can see how confident he is with his writing.

  3. The poem “Time” by Allen Curnow is where the poet places himself in the role of time, ‘I am’. It describes the effect of time on people and on objects, and with time, pretty much everything around you changes. The poem also tries to explain the very difficult matter of what time actually is. The poet does this by stating that time is many different things, such as “I am (time) the water-race”, which can refer to a river. The reason why the poem might have used this to try to describe time is because rivers never stop flowing in one direction, same as time. The language used by the poet is reasonably difficult to understand, because wherever in the poem Allen Curnow stated: “I am”, he will refer the object or location as time. The poem does actually do a very good job describing time, by explaining that time is everywhere around us at anytime. Also, the poem states that time is “the Beginning and the End”, which is true. Time lets living things live, but it also kills them. Time creates any object, but it also destroys it. The poet does a very good by describing how time is everywhere and everything, and how it effects everyone and everything.

  4. The poem “Time” by Allen Curnow is about time. About time being everywhere, and everything. Not only the usual understanding of it that we have, as in past, present and future; clocks. But everything – in and around us. The poet lists all kinds of different things, communicating this idea. From things that occur in nature, like dust, and mist, and mountains, rust cows, magpies, lupins, beaches, islands, sea; abstract things – like recorded mileage, distance, time, smell, sounds. To human-made things, that were brought into our lives – railway lines, signs, teachers, machines, parks, music, sawmills, cars, farms. He mentions all those different aspects of life in order to show that time is always present, in everything, everywhere, constantly. Time is everything, and everything is time.“I am, you have heard it, the Beginning and the End” is the last line of the poem – the conclusion.

    1. Diana your ideas are terrific here, but your use of language is surprisingly informal -could it be because you are utilising this blog site/social media? Your sentence structure is rather disappointing.

  5. The poem ‘Time’ is all about the abstract concepts of time. The poet is writing in first person, as he is the wind. “I am” is repeated rapidly amongst the poem. Throughout the poem the poet is switching between past, present and future. By doing this he’s achieving the point of how time is always moving and there is nothing we can do to stop it. Now, becomes then. In the line “I am the water-race and the rust on the railway lines”, the poet first uses water as a metaphor for something which is constantly moving and impossible to control. Then he talks about railway lines symbolizing the past. How much time it has been since the railway has been used. “I, Time, call down, condense, confer”shows the poet is using the repetition of the ‘c sound. This creates a calm steady beat to the line, making it complete, and final. At the end he says “Though I am here all things my coming attend; I am, you have heard it, the Beginning and the End”. This is a beautiful ending to such an abstract poem. First he explains how time is everywhere, in the leaves, in the office, in our everyday life and then he says that even though time is all of this, they are still the same. Here he creates a some confusion by saying that time has a beginning and an end, even though in the rest of his poem he has been explaining how time have no start nor ending. It is just there, guiding us through life.

    1. A nice, intelligent response which demonstrates not only how the poet conveys his thoughts/feelings, but also your own thoughts.

  6. “Time” by Allen Curnow
    This poem is about time and how it affects us and our surroundings. The Curnow uses a whole lot of different examples that are related to time passing by, for example, “I am the water-race and the rust on railway lines”. As you can see he describes the affect of time passing by using the abandoned railways. He mentions them becoming rusty, which is definitely a sign, or a clue of weeks passing by. Every single example used in this poem is unique; some are quite abstract, others, are based upon things you experience, see, taste and even hear almost every day. The poet also refers to time as if it’s him; he repetitively uses “I am”. For example, “I am the mileage recorded on the yellow signs.” He basically puts himself into the position of time, from where he describes it and explains it. You are endlessly reminded of the idea of him being, in fact, time in almost every line. He goes on to mention himself 15 more times. The poet explains time to be a very valuable thing, every second wasted is horrendous.

    The poet conveys his message by endless repetition and alliteration. As I said before, you’re continuously reminded that the poet is time. You then know that its time itself that is telling you this. Alliteration is often seen in this poem as well. For example, “Am Island, am sea, father, farm and friend.” This gives the poem a unique feel to you, as you pronounce letters numeral times. It makes certain lines sound more “epic”, and they certainly become more memorable. He also uses a lot of rhyming, which gives it a rhythm and a flow; this makes it much more enjoyable to read and gives smooth transitions between lines. This particular poem has a slight mysterious feel to it, since the examples aren’t explained in detail. This encourages the reader to fill in the missing blanks and become more involved with the poem. The audience is then motivated to go deeper and deeper into the poem, and find meanings within meanings. At the end of the poem, the poet states, “Though I am here all things my coming attend; I am, you have heard it, the beginning and the end.” This is a mysterious ending to such a beautiful poem. The point he is making is that time is with us and affects you from the second your born to the very second you pass away. It also refers to that time can start things, but can also bring an end to things.

    1. Thank you very much Brian for your detailed response. You explore the meaning of the poem and elaborate on the effects of language, and you do communicate your understanding of the poem rather well. For future reference, some of the literary devices employed have names -for example, you write that the poet places himself in the position of Time, this would be a form of personification. Repetition of vowel sounds is assonance and two or more words beginning with the same letter is called alliteration. 🙂

  7. The poem entitled ‘Time’, by Allen Curnow, describes, illustrates and illuminates the various forms of time. The poet conveys his message by naming many themes that represent time in concrete metaphors. For example, ‘I am nine o ‘clock in the morning when the office is clean’. This phrase conjures images of the morning, a new and pristine start to the day. The next line, ‘I am the slap of the belting and the smell of the machine’, is about factories working throughout the day. The last line of that stanza, ‘I am the place in the park where lovers were seen.’, conjures up images of a starry night sky above a park with a bench where a couple sit. That whole stanza takes the reader through a day in their mind, as the fist line is about the morning, the second line is about the middle of the day and the third line is about the evening turning to night. This is how Allen Curnow conveys the images of time in a single poem.
    Cara Thomson

    1. Thank you Cara for your comment. Although you only talk about the first stanza (to discuss more would have indeed taken more time and space), I really like how you stay focused. Even better is your developing ability to write using poetic terms such as ‘stanza’, metaphor and referring to the lines in the poem by using enclosed quotations (they form part of the sentence). 🙂

  8. The poem “Time” by Allen Curnow is about what time actually is, and tells us that time is everything and it is everywhere. The poet conveys what time is by telling us by providing us with examples of time such as “I am the nor-west air among the pines”, “I am dust, I am distance, I am lupins back of the beach”, or “I am nine o’clock in the morning when the office was clean”, which suggests that the time is everywhere on this planet and it is everything on this planet. The poet, Allen Curnow, even mentions that time is our father and friend in the last stanza first line “Am island, am sea, am father, farm, and friend”, which tells us that he wants us to understand that time is absolutely everything what you see, hear or feel in this world. He also says in the last line of his poem “I am, you have heard it, the Beginning and the End”, which means that time decides the start of your life, the journey of your life, and the end of your life.

    1. A good general comment about the message in the poem. Now the next step is to discuss the literary effects employed by the poet to convey his message.

  9. Here “Time” speaks for itself. Thus the poem is time’s autobiography. Time is everywhere. The poem is about how time is valuable in every stage of our lives. Allen Curnow describes time extensively by personifying time. The poet achieves this through the repetition of words “I am”, describing “I am” as the time. Curnow shows the ways how time is getting wasted every second. The writer converts the time as a personification. Allen Curnow gave every human quality to time. The writer has used “I am” 14 times. After the word “I am” the writer gives examples of time. For example “I am the sawmill and the passionate second gear”. In the last line “I am, you have heard it the Beginning and the End”. This means that time is with us from beginning and the end.

    The writer conveys his message through various examples. “am island, am sea, am father, farm and friend”. This line illustrates that time has replaced itself as father and friend. Time is also memory. It is because of time that we remember everything. It is like an island, offering man living place. It is like man’s father and friend. Everything obeys time. In the second stanza, Time is the dust which fills the atmosphere. It is like lupine that grow along the beach to stop erosion. It is the sums taught by a sole teacher of a rural school, where there is only one class and one teacher, and perhaps one time.

    1. A very detailed response Adarsh, and it demonstrates your thorough understanding of the poem. You have included quotations very well. Now the next step is to see if you can identify specific literary devices, name them and describe their effectiveness and the impact it has on the reader. Great effort. 🙂

  10. The poem entitled “Time” by Allen Curnow is a poem that describes the very complex idea of what time is. The poet does this by placing himself in the position of time itself through inanimate objects and describing the effect that time has on it after a specific period of time. For example, in stanza one, the poet uses “railway lines” as the inanimate object and describes that “rust” is what happens after time has past. As the poem goes on, the tone changes starting from stanza five, where the poet begins to use powerful words, but still is focused on describing time in a first person perspective. The poet uses alliteration to make the poem flow, and to add a livelier and brighter feeling to the whole poem. The poet also uses simple terms during the poem to help the readers understand what he is trying to convey but also uses them strategically to fully make clear on what he thinks time to be.

  11. This poem is about time and more specifically, how time keeps flowing and keeps changing. Allen Curnow sets up time as ‘I’ and explains what time is in our real life, for us who really doesn’t know the existence of time. For this, the poet uses personification which makes readers more understands about time. This poem also uses alliteration such as, “…father, farm, and friend” on line 19 which means using a same letter on beginning of several continuous words. This gives an external rhythm. Allen Curnow describes that time is changing like, “I am the water-race and the rust on railway lines”. It also appears on line 10, “I am recurrent music the children hear”. However, the writer indicates that time exists but we can’t see it. This tells on line 14, “Among my mountainous fabrics like mist”.

    By Tom

    1. Some good ideas Tom -aim to discuss them in detail though, so that your writing flows better leading toward a detailed analysis of the poem.

  12. The poem, ‘Time’ by Allen Curnow is perhaps a self-portrait of time and it’s where about. The poem takes us through all physical and mental concepts of our reality. It tells us how time creates and destroys what ever we have ever heard, felt, seen and tasted in our life. An example would be ‘I am the water-race and the rust on railway lines.’ This is ironic how the water-race, which seems never ending and unstoppable, has caused the slow and decaying outcome of objects. The most obvious and detectable source of time would be paragraph 3, where the first line is about morning, second line is lunch and the third line is about nighttime. This tells us about how time creates the line of how we live everyday. In the phrase, “I, Time, am all these, yet these exist” this reinforces the concept that time is everything. The concept that time creates and destroys is supported by the last line which is ‘I am, you have heard it, the Beginning and the End’.

    The author describes the concept by using onomatopoeia, alliteration, personification, similes and metaphors. In the line, ‘I am dust, I am distance, I am lupins back of the beach’, the author uses the literally device of alliteration. By repeating the – d sound, it gives perhaps a majestic or cosmic feeling to the line. The author uses this method again in ‘I am the slap of the belting and the smell of the machine’ By the repetitive sound of – s, it gives the reader an harsh but fresh atmosphere in the poem.

    1. An excellent response over all -you have written in substantial detail about a very complex poem. Aim to say ‘stanza’ in place of paragraph, and ‘poet’ instead of author -you may even say the ‘speaker of the poem’ and then refer to thereafter as the speaker…(just removing a few twigs in your path 🙂 )

  13. What is the poem about and how does the poet convey his/her message? (Time)

    The poem ‘Time’ written by Allen Curnow is about the subject of time. In this poem, the poet brings a sense of life to time, which is not a living organism. The poem not only describes time as a living object, it also states to us that time, is basically everything. The poet conveys this message by using different nouns to describe time. For example ‘I am the mileage recorded on the yellow signs’ and ‘I am cows called to milking and the magpie’s screech’ are two very different comparisons in describing time. The first one is relating time to a lifeless object (mileage recorded on yellow signs) and the second, gives time life by using cow and magpie as an example, but they do have similarities. Throughout the whole poem the poet describes time in other words that are not time, this is called personification and the examples above are an example of this. The poet, Allen Curnow also reinforces this idea by saying ‘Though I am here all things my coming attend;’ in line two of the last stanza. This suggests that time is the absolute existence. Finally, the poet says ‘I am’ repetitively in the poem. This repetition of ‘I am’ emphasizes the point the personification by through the use of the pronoun ‘I’. The repetition of ‘I am’ also reflects upon that how great time is and also the point that time can be mostly everything or even everything.

    1. Excellent commentary Nick-I really enjoyed reading it. Your discussion of time personified reminded me of French philosopher Descarte’s famous expression. ‘I think therefore I am’ -I am time therefore I am…I like how you recognise the shift between inanimate and animate objects, and how they are all connected to time.

      1. Can you please elaborate, what exactly do you mean when you are relating it with Rene Descarte’s Quote.

  14. The poem ‘Time’ by Allen Curnow is about time being present on every thing on Earth. He relates time to nature and to our daily lives, and how it affects everything that occurs. In the 4th stanza he tells us ‘I am recurrent music the children hear, I am the level noises in the remembering ear’, meaning that without time the children would not be able to hear their lullabies change, because sound travels in waves and at different frequencies with time. He explains, ‘I am the place in the park were lovers were seen.’ This also relates to time because the lovers are speaking to themselves, therefore if there was no sound they could not communicate. Curnow also relates time to work. For example, in the 3rd stanza he explains ‘I am nine o’clock in the morning when the office is clean’, which tells us that without time, we wouldn’t be able to go to work. This also indicates the start of the day. He also mentions, ‘I am the slap of the belting and the smell of the machine’, meaning that without time the sound of the belting would not travel. Time also indicates the smell of the machine traveling around the workplace. ‘I am the sawmill and the passionate second gear’ also tells us that people can also be against time. The gear has to be changed if in a rush; therefore being conscious of time. The poet also relates time to nature and growth, because he mentions ‘Am island, am father, farm and friend’, because islands take years to grow with time. ‘Am father’ is also time, because your father is with you since you were a baby, teaching you ways of life. As you get older, your father teaches you more things until eventually the time will come when you learned everything you need and are on your own. ‘Am friend’ is also time, because it takes time for two people to become more than acquaintances. Time is here with us from the beginning to the end.

    Curnow conveys his message by using alliteration in the second last stanza to give it a musical feeling, and gives warmth to the poem. In every stanza, for the last word in each sentence is a word that rhymes. The poem ‘Time’ is written in first person, like it is speaking for itself, therefore that is why the author used “I am” fourteen times.

    1. Thank you yet again for such a detailed and thoughtful response. I love how you discuss the different portraits of time, using enclosed quotations. Perhaps you could go into more detail about the specific use of language/devices in the second paragraph -but then again, you would be up all night wouldn’t you? 🙂 See if next time we do this you can strike a balance between the two 🙂

  15. Time, by Allen Curnow, is a poem which personifies time, and can be seen in “I am” 14 times which is the first phrase in the first four stanzas, and as also the last line. It is about time, and how it is so vague that it can be anything from “the water-race” suggesting that time flows in one direction, very much like time, to the “recurrent music the children hear”, which describes the children songs and nursery rhymes which we listen to, that are evergreen, and will never get old. He also talks about the “rust on railway lines” which in my opinion, would be the rust that forms on railway lines, due to the weeks, months or even years of neglect, after people abandoned it, which would most likely be due to humans choosing better forms of transport, like taking a plane, which would be much faster. This again shows how with time, comes better inventions which cause old technology to fade out of existence.
    The writer uses alliterations, for example, “call down, condense, confer”, stressing the letter ‘c’. He does this again, when he writes “father, farm and friend, this time stressing the letter ‘f’, both of these giving the poem a majestic feeling. He also uses a rhyme pattern where, in every stanza, the last words of each sentence rhyme. Because of the vagueness of the poem, and because the writer does not explain what he means, it “invites” readers to interpret what he means. For example, “the place in the park where the lovers were seen”, could mean that the love between couples, which took time to develop, or time, in a different sense, where in the park, where couples do things under the safety of the dark night. He also uses a reference to the bible, “the Beginning and the End”, stressing again that fact that time is ALL.

    1. Wow Clarence- this is terrific!! This summary puts you back on the straight and narrow when it comes to analysing a theme and language used. I do question ‘better forms of transport’ -does that really mean progress? Are inventions really progress? Perhaps Curnow is being critical of modernisation. Id probably use ‘cars’ instead of ‘planes’ -because there are more of them, and therefore more opportunities to destroy the earth through modernisation -we have just made the process a lot faster. You have given me much to think about.

  16. The most ultimate questions that everybody asked is what is Time. In the poem entitled “Time,” by Allan Curnow, he uses personification to describe what time is in an abstract way. He also constantly uses the saying “I am” and “I, Time” to constanly remind the readers that it is speaking in the form of Time. For instance, in line “I am nine o’clock in the morning when the office is clean,” the author uses I am. Also in this line, the author conveys a message that Time is early in the morninng when the office is clean. And also in stanza seven, first line, the author cleverly uses alliteration to describe Time is everything around us. In overall, this poem does a great job describing what Time is.

  17. The most ultimate questions that everybody asked is what is Time. In the poem entitled “Time,” by Allan Curnow, he uses personification to describe what time is in an abstract way. He also constantly uses the saying “I am” and “I, Time” to constanly remind the readers that it is speaking in the form of Time. For instance, in line “I am nine o’clock in the morning when the office is clean,” the author uses I am. Also in this line, the author conveys a message that Time is early in the morninng when the office is clean. And also in stanza seven, first line, the author cleverly uses alliteration to describe Time is everything around us. And finally in the last line in the last stanza, the author does a great job on describing how time is the Beginning and the End.

    1. Ive got two here, with a slight change to the ending of the last line. Hmm well, to begin with the author is a poet. Again some good ideas but they are a little underdeveloped. More importantly you must resist the temptation to write line like ‘the poet does a great job’ -‘the poet cleverly uses’ (you over use this)- as you are not reviewing the poet’s work. You have the basics, now you need to be more …interesting, more dynamic in your written expression.

  18. Sorry Ms Mayer, I accidentally posted the other one. This is my post.

    The most ultimate questions that everybody asked is what is Time? In the poem entitled “Time,” by Allan Curnow, he uses personification to describe what time is in an abstract way. He also constantly uses the saying “I am” and “I, Time” to remind the readers that it is speaking in the form of Time. For instance, in line “I am nine o’clock in the morning when the office is clean,” the poet uses I am. Also in this line, the poet conveys a message that Time is early in the morning when the office is clean. And also in stanza seven, first line, the author cleverly uses alliteration to describe Time is everything around us. And finally in the last line in the last stanza, the author does a great job on describing how time is the Beginning and the End.
    In the 5th stanza Curnow talks how time is “Time is among it’s mountainous fabrics like mist’. Curnow writes 4 stanzas previous of this phrase to write how Time cannot be determined and you can never tell what is going to happen in the future. There are also patterns of alliteration in the final two stanza, first lines . However there isn’t anything else special to it. And finally I believe this is not an autobiography because autobiographies are supposed to be telling a history about someone, however this poem talks about what this poem is-about time.

    From Coreachick

    It is better as you do attempt to discuss the theme as conveyed by the poet. As for your comment about it being not an autobiography-well, the definition of one is that it is a story written about the person by the person, and therefore uses the pronoun ‘I’. The poet casts himself in the role of Time, so it is. There are historical references to it as evidently he is preoccupied with the passing of time, which is history. Maybe more accurate would be that the poet provides us with portraits of time, snapshots…

  19. Time by ‘Allen Curnow’ is very unique and well described poem. Every word in ‘Time’ has a hidden meaning. So, they have more flows than other poems and this flow in ‘Time’ is very direct and straight. The commas inside the poems are giving us strong mood and atmosphere. Also the commas are giving very dramatic and very serious felling when you speak out the poem. ‘Time’ by Allen Curnow is so well written that, if you are good reader you can feel like you are reading lyrics. Also, by saying ‘I am, you have heard it, the Beginning and the End’ it actually tells you there is no actual answer giving it a mysterious mood.

    1. Thank you Vicky for your contribution -you have communicated your thoughts relatively clearly. I like the exploration of commas used (could be developed further) because I think they reflect the passing of time as well.

  20. The poem “Time” by Allen Curnow is telling the reader, time is everything and everywhere. The poet does this by starting every line in the first four stanzas with “I am……” Time is also abstract, you can’t see it, smell it, or touch it. But in the poem the poet gave readers definite images and characterises time. For example, ” I am the saw mill and the passionate second gear.” The second line of the first stanza said ” I and the water race and the rust on railway lines” describes water or river, because time like rivers, can never flow backward, once it pass us by, it will never come back. In the second last stanza, the poet also said ” I, time, am all these, yet these exist. Among my mountainous fabrics like mist” and Allen Curnow is saying that our life is cover by time, like mountains are cover by mist, you don’t know what is going to happen next and you can’t see the beauty or the ugliness behind the mist.

    1. Thank you very much Anna. I really like your thoughts regarding the poem. You explained the water and the mist rather skillfully.

  21. The poem “Time” by Allen Curnow uses both emotional and physical sense to express his ideas about time. He explains the importance of time by describing the objects that are always around us. For example “I am the water race and the rust on railway lines”.
    The author uses personification and alliteration to also relate all the basic and important objects to our life by using the sound of “C” and “F”.-“call down, condense, confer’ and ‘father,farm and friend.” This gave a good and effective way to express the importance of the abstract word “Time”

    1. Ok you have got the right idea Daniel -sort of. You just need to comment the effects of alliteration. Where was the personification? You need to explain it. Imagine you have cooked an awesome meal, and you are telling someone about the ingredients used…

  22. Dear Grade 9

    Well I must say how impressed I am with the level of writing I have just read. I was not only impressed with what I came and saw in your English class, but to now read your follow-up reflections on a beautiful piece of poetry, is wonderful. Keep up the good work. I look forward to seeing further progression.

    1. Hi Juan,
      Whilst time can be measured – in three dimensions-the poet seems to be suggesting that time is something more than being measured… its a rather complex thought, because on one hand time is something that has been created by humans to order the universe…on the another level it simply exists…
      the way I tried to explain it is like this; the way in which some days “feel” longer than others …yet we have ordered our world into twenty-four hours, and each day has twenty four hours…but sometimes a measurable day can seem a lot longer or shorter depending on the circumstances. Maybe the poet is suggesting that whilst we go through great lengths to order our world with a literal sense of time…maybe there is something much larger, which cannot be controlled or measured, at work?

  23. Can we say that the poet uses the device of simile when he uses the following line, ‘among my mountainous fabrics like mist’

      1. Yes it definitely is. That is an allusion which is when you refer to to something often the Bible, Greek Mythology, other great writers, etc. The Beginning and the End, was taken from the book of revelations 22:13. It is the same concept as Alpha and Omega in which Time is being related to God because God is the Beginning and the End.

      2. Thank you Aaron for the reference! Yes, I think we did mention Alpha and Omega in a class discussion -if we didn’t, it was certainly on the tip of our tongues. Thank you, again

    1. Pyro,
      I think the words in the line mean what they say-dust is the passing of time, all matter is reduced to dust, eventually, distance, is measured as with speed, so they are inextricably related to time, lupins-are wild flowers which grow on the beach in Curnow’s New Zealand home. It stands out a little bit, because ‘dust’ and ‘distance’ have some relationship beyond the alliterative sound. I guess flowers symbolises renewal and the continuity of time in nature, the cycle of nature. What do you think?

  24. i would like to ask for the meaning of the lines “I am the sums the sole-charge teachers teach” , ” i am the slap of the belting and the smell of the machine” and ” among my mountainous fabrics like a mist” please 🙂

    1. According to some info on the poet, Curnow was referring to single (sole) teachers teaching in very small schools in isolated towns. ‘Slap’ is onomatopoeic and refers to the sound of the factory belt on an assembly-line. Also there is no sound without space, and without space there cannot be measurable ‘time’….that’s a bit tricky to think about. Time is everywhere, layer upon layer like fabric-we know its there, but sometimes we can’t see the effects of time passing (perhaps because the evidence of time is obscured with ‘mist’). Also ‘mist’ can refer to poor memory…?

    1. The major device used in poem is repetition, in particular of ‘Time’. This achieves a kind of cyclical affect, because in a sense nothing really ever ‘begins’ or ‘ends’.

  25. Hi there,
    For the references to the lupins, and the images of the rural NZ, how would you incorporate that in an answer to answer a question like.. How is time made important in Poem? and link it to the question? ..
    And also, how many quotes do you think we should lift out from a poem that large in an essay like that?
    Lastly, how would you structure the essay? Beginning/middle/end of the poem or by theme, or ..?
    Thanks for your time, and your pages on the poems are soooo helpful! My teacher isn’t great but you fill in most of my gaps.

    1. Structuring an essay really depends on the question-in your intro you need to make it clear that you are answering the terms of the question. The bet way I thnk, when discussing a poem is to ‘move’ through the poem from beginning to end; that way you are still keeping in tune with the text and the purpose and meaning of the text is not lost on the reader. As for lupins, well I would suggest that the flowering plant symbolises fertility, growth and renewal….a contrast is being established with images of industrialisation, modernity and so on with ‘sawmills’, and the onomatopoeic ‘slap’ of the machines.

  26. i cant understand the line
    ” I am the sawmill and the passionate second gear”

    i’d like from you to make it more clear please!:)
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Sawmill refers to machinery, and the ‘passionate second gear’ is when the gear of, say a car requires a change to third. You may not have experienced driving a manual car, but when you do you have to push down the clutch and kind of balance it with the accelerator. To know when to change gears you can ‘hear’ the drone becoming more intense and louder. Passionate refers to the necessity of change-its hard to sustain passion, and somehow passion wants some kind of resolve….the car metaphor is simplest I can come up with on a Saturday night:)

  27. This is amazing… I love the fact that there are so many people willing to analyse poems and people that are interested in such. This helps a lot of people who read the responses not only for the ideas, but for the way of writing as well… Thank you VERY much.

  28. The poet Allen Curnow expresses time being present everywhere.He means the entire world is governed by time . Time is a mighty force where no one can stop its going. The poet explains everything depends on time, “Though i am here all things my coming attend;” Curnow also expresses in the last line “I am, you have heard it the beginning and the end .” He expresse biblical language, where he means that time controls the world from beginning to the end.

  29. .Through his poem, TIme, Allen Curnow manages to communicate the omnipresence of time to the reader. The poem is composed of seven rhymed triplets, with each triplet focusing on a different aspect of life. The common denominator for these triplets is time itself. Weather it be the “rust on the railway lines” or the “recurrent music the children hear”, time is witness to everything on this planet. Throughout the poem, the reader sees constant references to pastoral New Zealand, and is thus reminded of Curnow’s backround.
    The words “I am” are repeated in the first thirteen lines of the poem. This anaphora seems to be pointing at a sense of selfishness. Almost as if time is demanding respect and credit for its greatness.

  30. What about “call down, condense, confer” and “I, more than your conscious carrier” what does it means?

    Also thanks, this page is very helpful.

  31. I would also like to point out that there are 12 “I am”s, refering to a clock (which links back to time).

  32. Allen Curnow being a modern poet writes this poem in very simple language which helps us to see the importance and understand what time exactly is. He uses many vivid imagery almost taking us on a journey around the world. He tries to emphasize on the fact that time itself is everywhere, using personification (use of “I am”). Time is everything, and will never stop or rewind for anyone or anything. The poet refers to many different place and scenes to emphasize on the fact that where ever you are time follows. The first four stanza’s of the poem refer to actual places, and Allen curnow being from New Zealand uses many scenaries from his ow country, but the fifth stanza is a little more metaphorical.
    “Among the mountainous fabrics like a mist” could mean that time covers the whole world just like the mist covers the mountain.
    Allen Curnows father was a clergyman thus the many religious ad biblical references.
    As a whole the poem in a wonderfully portraits what Allen Curnow thinks what time is.

    Thankyou for reading till the end. I know its very amateur but im 14:P and please give me some tips on improving.:)

  33. Hi there,
    Which quotes in the poem show the passing of time but related to nature?
    And how is time represented by the use of nature?
    Thanks,
    Claire

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