GET FLIRTY!!!F Focus on the form of the poem , looking at the structure, punctuation, line lengths and the arrangement of the poem‟s stanzas. How do these features add interest and meaning to the poem? Also examine the arrangements of the words, phrases and sentences in the poem.L Examine the language used in the poem, looking at the meaning of words and whether they have negative or positive connotations.I Look at the techniques, imagery and poetic language that has been used? How do these techniques bring out the main themes and ideas in the poem?R How does the poet make use of rhyme, repetition and rhythm? Why does he do this?T What are the poet‟s main ideas that he brings out in the poem and how does he do this? Explain the feelings that the poet conveys throughout the poem. Describe the poet‟s attitude to his subject. Does this change as the poem progresses? Carefully examine the tone throughout the poem and find vocabulary to back up your discussion.Y How do you react to this poem? Does it bring any particular thoughts to mind? Which poems would you compare this one with?
BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS Born in Kaikohe in 1922 Has associations with Ngapuhi hapus –Ngati Korokoro, Ngati Tautahi, Te Pototo. Uri- O-Hau. Educated in Auckland and only went to Year 8 in his schooling. Became a boilermaker in the N Z Railway at Otahuhu. Belonged to Maori Advancement Committees and was also a strong unionist. He spent his life committed to the causes of working people and his own Maori people as well. Married for over 50 years, had three sons and many grandchildren. He began writing seriously in 1956 and his poems have appeared in many publications in New Zealand and around the world. He made a late start as a writer but his work has the freshness of a young man‟s poetry. Writes short lyrics whose particular strength lies in their imagery –often seen at their best in the personification of inanimate objects. The form of most of his poetry is a short-lined free verse stanza and his poetry is particularly fine when his mood is melancholy. Tuwhare only uses Maori material occasionally but it is suggested that the remarkable way he humanises natural phenomena is rooted in the animistic Maori view of the world.
FRIENDDo you rememberthat wild stretch of landwith the lone tree standing guarding the pointfrom the sharp-tongued sea?The fort we built out of the brancheswrenched from the tree, is dead wood now.The air that was thick with the whirr oftoetoe spears succumbs at last to thegrey gull‟s wheel.Oyster-studded rootsof the mangroves yield no finer foodof silver-bellied eels and sea-snailsCooked in a rusty can.
FRIENDAllow me your hand if only for reassuranceto mend the broken end that all our jewelled fantasies wereof shared days: real and were splendid rags.but I wanted to saythat the tree we climbed Perhaps, the treethat gave food and drink will strike fresh roots againTo youthful dreams, is no more. Give soothing shade to a hurt andpursed to the lips her fine-edged troubled world.leaves made whistle – now stampno silken tracery on the crackedclay floor.FriendIn the drearDreamless time I clasp
STANZA ONE The first stanza discusses the persona‟s youth and youthful activities of playing with his friend. The poem is written in a conversational narrative.The first stanza is composed of a question –this is used to ask his friend if he still remembers the setting of their childhood –innocent and happy times when they dreamt of doing great things in life. However, the area described seems quite hostile and the negative connotations of wild, lone , guarding, and sharp-tongued sea seem to contrast with the poet‟s happy memories of the area as he asks his friend if he still remembers. Even though the area was quite isolated it didn‟t seem to matter to the young children as they has fun and were filled with the excitement and fantasies that life brought with their imaginative minds and play.The stanza consists of four lines with enjambment used in the first three lines to let the poet‟s thoughts flow and bring to our minds the area where he grew up. He uses the question to emphasize the distant past and where he enjoyed his youth as well as questioning whether his friend still has the same memories. This quite cleverly also gets the reader thinking about his or her past life and what has happened to childhood friends.The tone is wistful and one of reminiscence with the words, “Do you remember…”
STANZA ONESecond person pronoun “you” is used to address his friend but its seems that the reader takes his friend‟s place as the poem progresses.The vocabulary is simple and the some nice imagery has been used through the choice of vocabulary and figurative language. “wild stretch of land” with the use of the word wild implies negative connotations of an uncontrollable place, cold and uninhabitable contrasting with the happy memories and activities in stanza two. Personification, a favourite technique of Tuwhare has been used in line three with “the lone tree guarding the point” – the effect of this seems to be of a soldier on sentry duty protecting the point from the harmful sea, never moving from his post –you can imagine the resolute tree not yielding to the harsh conditions and surf hitting the point. The rhythm of both lines two and three is slow and the words seem disjointed and to not be read smoothly, reflecting the landscape being described.. It is also a feature of the area of the boys‟ youth and the tree would have been a feature of the landscape that many people of the area would also have identified with. This line also fits into the idea of the boys building a fort in stanza two.-maybe reflecting back to the times when young boys played war and to the First and Second World Wars.
STANZA ONEPersonification “The sharp-tongued sea” has been cleverly used and gives the effect of the sea being sarcastic, angry, cutting and vicious like a nasty person attacking someone else. This image created of the sea being like this person implies the destructiveness of the sea as it crashes against the point. Sharp-tongued sea is also sibilance and the s sound is quite harsh and sharp reflecting the actions of the sea and its wildness.Stanza one‟s isolated and harsh environment could perhaps also link to man‟s thoughts in stanza two when he says the tree is “dead wood” and also stanza four where the poet refers to the tree again as being dead. It seems he wants the good times of youth to come back because the world and his life seem miserable and hopeless at this time. This thought is also expressed in the last stanza.The lines lengths of stanza one vary and the third line is longer than the rest, perhaps reflecting the lone tree on the point which stands over all in the area. Again the lines vary because of the harshness of the area. Raggedness.
Stanza TwoConsists of four lines but they are longer than stanza one. There is contrast evident in the verse as the poet talks about what his friend and he used to do –”building a fort out of branches wrenched from the tree” This shows what they did when they had no cares in the world but enjoying themselves and harshly pulling branches off the living tree. First person plural “we‟ is used here to include the poet and his friend, but it could also be inclusive of the reader as most people think fondly back to their childhoods and wish they could relive the past away from the hard realities of life.
STANZA TWO CONTINUED. The word wrenched implies the ripping off of branches without thinking of the consequences of what the damage is to the tree. Wrenched is onomatopoeia. The effect of this word is to conjure in the reader‟s mind the harsh tearing sound of the branches being ripped off the tree and echoing in the isolated place. The words „wrenched from the tree‟ has a very slow and sharp rhythm to reflect the way the branches were broken. Wrenched has negative connotations and again fits in with the harsh landscape the boys grew up in. Today in our environment these boys would have been told off for damaging nature and not taking care of the tree but them no one cared.The words “is dead-wood now” imply literally that the lone tree is now dead but also these words are a pun because the dead wood may be their dreams and hopes are no longer achievable and buried with the serious of life. This links with stanza five where the poet refers back to their “jewelled fantasies were real and wore splendid rags.”A caesura has been used after „dead-wood now,‟ -this pause allows the reader to reflect on how the words of how the boys got the branches from a living tree and to even think about their own childhoods and the similar things they did – then Tuwhare slams home the fact that the tree is dead and dried up. The words that follow after the caesura seem to bring home the fact that childhood is also dead and life is quite different now one is an adult.
STANZA TWOThe last three lines also give a contrast to the area back in childhood and what it has become now. Thick toetoe bushes with their spears made loud,whirring sounds as the wind blew through them. Onomatopoeia is used with whirring which is like a loud buzzing or whizzing similar to a propeller –the effect is to resemble the sounds the boys made in their fort when playing war, adding to the reality of their games. This is then contrasted with the toetoe having been replaced or destroyed like the boys‟ childhood dreams with the seagulls wheeling and flying around and around the area by the sea. Sibilance “ spears succumbs at last” – the rhythm of these words is slow and drawn out, seeming to reflect the loss of the toetoe spears making the noise but also the rhythm adds a finality to the death of childhood dreams. Alliteration –”grey gull‟s wheel” – these words do not flow smoothly and the words are pronounced separately as if to show how lone seagulls fly around doing the same thing -the tone seems melancholy as one imagines the dull bird continuously flying around. The toetoe spears could also be a metaphor for the young boys and their hopes and dreams and with the death of the toetoe bushes so have these dreams of youth died and replaced with a dreary life as referred to in stanza five. The word “grey” also seems to add a dimension of loss of imagination and reflects the adult‟s life –dull and troubled; yearning for past times. The grey gull could be a metaphor for adult humans beings and the dreary, continuous pattern we follow everyday of our adult lives. –our lives are grey.
STANZA THREEThis stanza is in italics and it also presents an important theme of the poem. It serves as a chorus of the past life Tuwhare and his friend lived, and seems to show that people have forgotten about the way their ancestors lived simply and were able to provide for themselves as these boys did when young. They weren‟t worried about the materialistic things in life and were quite happy using their imaginations.Here the Maori way of life is shown by the description of the food the boys got from the sea. Mangrove roots had oysters growing off them, silver- bellied eels were found in the mangroves as well as sea-snails. The boys didn‟t care what they cooked them in as long as they got a feed – “a rusty can”. How many people would use a rusty can today with all the knowledge we have about disease and unhygienic cooking practices? Hyphenated words have been used in the stanza with “oyster – studded”, „silver-bellied” and sea-snails.Alliteration – „yield no finer feast‟ -the repetition of the f sound is smooth and flowing, with a hint of pleasure that the meal will bring the boys. The positive connotations of finer feast suggest that this meal will be enjoyable and one of the best the boys will ever eat. Sibilance is used in “silver-bellied eels and sea-snails” has a slow, almost melodic rhythm to it , suggesting excitement at what is being cooked.The first and fourth lines are short while the other two lines are longer. – maybe to reflect the plentiful food available in the mangroves where the eels and snails are found.
STANZA FOURStanza four is much longer than the other stanzas consisting of eleven lines. Line one and eleven are only two words each. The first 3 lines are separated from the rest of the stanza. The first person singular pronoun of me has been used to refer to the poet and to personalise the poem –that these are his memories he shared with another. The poet states that he wants “to mend the broken ends of shared days”. With these words it seems that he wants to go back to that time and possibly relive these memories. The word mend emphasizes this but the word broken underlines this is impossible. A colon (of shared days:) has been used to create a pause before the poet goes on to describe what has happened to the tree they played on and around the effect of the colon is to create an image in the reader‟s mind of these past joys and then Tuwhare begins to list and tell the friend/reader what has happened to the tree.Line 4 I –first person singular pronoun is used again to personalise the poet‟s experiences. Tells of climbing the tree “that gave food and water to youthful dreams” . Here the food and water are metaphors for hope, inspiration, ambitions and dreams of the youth. Like food and water you must have these if you want to remain optimistic in life –if you are not nurtured them you will wither and die like the lone tree.Alliteration –line 5 –that the tree – the t sounds flow smoothly and have a quicker rhythm than other lines because there is a sense of hope and being optimistic when referring to the positive words of “youthful dreams”. The phrase “is no more” contains assonance with the o sound. After the words “youthful dreams” the pace slows with the emphasis on the o of no and more –the rhythm slows down and the words are said singularly in a mournful tone ,adding a note of finality once again to the poem.
Stanza FourThe contrast is again brought out in these lines and in the next few lines. One gets the image of the tree‟s leaves being curled up and used as a whistle by the boys, then a hyphen is used and the poet tells us that leaves do not drop from the tree and form patterns on the floor below anymore –all that is left is the cracked clay floor.Fine-edged leaves could be metaphoric for the fine ideas and dreams the boys once had –the effect of the tree dying is like their previous youthful dreams have also past –the cracked clay floor also could be a metaphor for the broken dreams and schemes the boys had which have now gone and adult life has squashed and made impossible.Hyphenated word –fine-edged leaves – to create the effect that these leaves were delicate. This ties in with the words “silken tracery‟ – the tree‟s leaves were equisite and precious to the boys. Like their dreams and thoughts for the future.Onomatopoeia- whistle -
Stanza FiveThis stanza consists of 6 lines –line 1 = 1 word, line2 = 3 words, line 3 =4 words, line 4= 6 words, line 5 =6 words, and line 6 =5 words.The poet use direct address to his friend –”Friend,” . The only word in the line is done for emphasis. The opening seems similar to an ode . The word Friend is followed by a comma, creating a pause for effect and for the reader to wonder what will follow. The word „Friend‟ also seems to move to include everybody in the world as Tuwhare broadens his subject matter and includes the troubles of the world in the last stanzas of the poem.Tuwhare feels that the world has lost all it optimistism and he negatively uses the vocabulary of“drear dreamless time‟ to reflect his lack of hope and enthusiasm for life. He uses „I‟ –first person singular pronoun to personalise the poem and reveal that closeness he had as a youth with the friend. The word “reassurance” reinforces his doubts about his youth being so wonderful.“jewelled fantasies” is personification –the effect is that all their hopes and dreams were as precious to them as rare diamonds and gems and he wasn‟t exaggerating about them.The words rags usually is referred to as castoffs, old clothes that are no longer good to wear –Tuwhare was a child in the Great Depression of the late 1920s and early 1930s-“wore splendid rags” is a metaphor for the boys‟ wonderful dreams, fantasies and hopes – just like a lot of children during this time the boys wore hand me downs or second hand clothes =they may have used rags to dress up in - another way of looking at this is that the rags imply that these hopes and dreams had to be castoff.The poet in this stanza is searching for something in life to which he can hold on to as now he feels very troubled about life and what is happening In the world.
STANZA SIXStanza six has 4 lines in it. – it is set out like stanza three =1and 4 are short lines while 2 and 3 are much longer.The tone is this poem is slightly optimistic with a hint of melancholy. The word “Perhaps” begins the stanza and gives hope that the tree will begin to grow again“strike fresh roots again;‟ – this is a metaphor for life becoming better and more positive for all the people In the later stanzas of the poems moves away from the childhood and youthful dreams of the friends to encompass the world in the poet‟s thoughts – drear dreamless time in stanza 5. It seems that all hope is gone –Maybe a time of war or nuclear threats as in the 1960s.– later the tree could be personified as representing mankind or even have a religious point that it is time for christian values to return to make the world a better place to live in than it is now.A colon is used again at the end of line two to make the reader pause and think about the tree growing again and bringing hope with it. Then in lines 3 and 4 Tuwhare gives the reader a glimpse of his view of the world at present and what is needed
STANZA SIXto bring about a change to the world.The tree here seems to be encompassing and is needed to cover the whole world so that people can find joy and hope in their lives again.As stated in Stanza 5 the tree seems to have acquired a religious overtone and the tree seems to have become a metaphor for Christianity and the need for Christ to come again to help the distressed and troubled world that Tuwhare and others exist in.The tree shifts from being a symbol of boyhood inspiration and becomes a symbol for the whole world‟s need for hope and renewal – the tree emphasizes that we must change the way we live our lives. Tuwhare feels at present we have lost our way like the boyhood dreams and we must move forward if we want a different way of life.The words “give soothing shade “ is sibilance and the s sound is soft and gives a gentle, flowing rhythm to the line –it has a calming effect when followed with “to a hurt and troubled world”. The words “hurt” and “troubled” have negative connotations and contrast with the word soothing in line 3.
Stanza Six, form and themes“hurt and troubled world „ alludes to the Bible or to church services and again emphasizes Tuwhare‟s thoughts that mankind needs renewal of the spirit and a return to the values that all religions and traces teach their people to live by.FORM OF THE POEMa lyric poem which contains short lined free verse stanzas.THEMES1. The hopes and dreams of youth and how they can disappear once people get into their adult life and become weighed down with all the problems and worries of life.2. Trials, tribulations, wars and struggles in life can have a vast effect on the world‟s people. Man needs to go back to the good values people were taught and teat one another with kindness and respect (treat others the way you would want to be treated).
ACTIVITIES1. Look at the contrasts in the poem and illustrate these in the form of a collage.2. See if you can write a poem about your dreams from childhood and then tie it into a world problem such as terrorism, nuclear war or poverty. Hand the poem into your teacher.3. Discuss the transition Tuwhare makes from a poem about boyhood activities and friends to the wider world in general. Write two long paragraphs discussing the way he has done this.4. COMPULSORY ESSAY QUESTION: With close reference to this poem, discuss how Tuwhare presents his ideas about the contrast between the past and the present in his poem, „Friend‟.