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  • 1. CONTINUUM
  • 2. Background• Allen Curnow was one of New Zealand’s mostcelebrated poets. He died in 2001 at the ageof ninety. He once said that some of his poetrytried to explore ‘the private andunanswerable’.
  • 3. Personification• The second and third stanzas capture a certainrestlessness and the man’s inability to sleep or‘think thoughts’. From his porch he looksacross the privets and palms of his garden atthe night sky, ‘a washed-out creation’- ‘a darkplace’. Both of these phrases havemetaphorical associations as well as literalmeaning.
  • 4. • He observes two clouds: ‘one’s mine / theother’s an adversary’. Why is one cloud his,and in what way? In respect of the othercloud, dictionary definitions of ‘adversary’ arehelpful: ‘opponent in a contest or conflict’, aforce that opposes or attacks’, ‘enemy’. Whichof these meanings do they feel is moresuitable here, and why?

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