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Australian Poetry: An Analysis Of Bruce Dawe's Poem, Life Cycle

1001 words - 4 pages

Bruce Dawe is considered to be one of Australia’s most influential poets of the 20th century. Dawe’s poems capture Australian life in numerous ways, whether it is our passion for AFL in Life-Cycle or our reckless nature towards war as in Homecoming. Dawe creates very complicated poems reflecting the author’s context relevant to the time period, your context is based upon your reading of the poem, where you may gather different meanings, to that of the original intent, hidden within the text.

Written in the 1960’s this poem is one of the most famous of Dawe’s collection. Written to reflect Australia’s passion for its national sport it creates analogies with that of the catholic religion. This fact may be taken in a number of ways, is it to show the severity of our obsession or is it more in the sense of a religious love poem? There are many analogies throughout the poem referencing specific readings within the bible and catholic traditions or sacraments. The likeness between religion and AFL can be used to identify how sport is like a religion to many individuals within Australia and in a sense is a very appropriate choice. ‘…and behold their team going up the ladder to heaven’ . This line within the poem makes reference to the bible story Jacob’s Dream, in the dream Jacob see’s a ladder leading up to heaven, to the kingdom of God and each ladder wrung is marked with a special task Jacob must complete in order to ascend the Lord. In relation to AFL the ladder clearly indicates the placement ladder as to which team is the best and with reference to ‘each wrung is marked with a special task that Jacob must complete’, the footy teams must win against rivals to ascend into heaven which is quite obviously the Grand Final.

‘They are wrapped in club colours, laid in beribboned cots’ through the readers context you can understand that the young child is wrapped in the footy team colours and laid in a cot wrapped with their coloured ribbons, this is the obvious and can be seen as an ‘initiation’ period into the life of barracking and football. This line can be referenced to the sacrament of baptism. In the sacrament of baptism children are dressed in white and prepared for entering the church life and allowing God into their lives. Like baptism the child has no opinion into its choice of favorite footy team the parents simply choose it for them which occurs in baptism, the child has no say as to if it wants to be baptized into a religion, the infants guardians baptize him/her into their religious order regardless of their wishes.
There is a constant atmosphere of war throughout the duration of the poem. It is present in the idea that the footy teams are in constant battle with each other to win the ultimate prize; The Grand Final. There is also a reference to a war poem within the line ‘They will not...

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