Judith Wright (31 May 1915 – 25 June 2000)
She was a lover of nature. Her work is noted for a
keen focus on the Australian environment, which
began to gain prominence in Australian art in the years
following World War II.
Judith was well known for her campaigning in support
of the conservation of the Great Barrier Reef and
Fraser Island. With some friends, she helped found
one of the earliest nature conservation movements.
Stanza 1: Analysis
● A picture of harmony and calm : “Sun-warmed in this late season’s grace” The
word “sun” sets the weather as beautiful and the word “grace” gives a
harmonious touch to the portrait.
● She uses meliorative words such as “gentlest” that suggest a calm and delicate
● The fact it was “half-through a pace” reinforces the idea of surprise, they did not
have time to think or finish their action they were stopped in the middle of it. The
fact this snake justifies stopping their walk shows it is potentially dangerous.
● In the last verse of the stanza, the cause of the freezing is identified, “The great
black snake went reeling by”. The word “black” suggests something dark and
therefore probably menacing, this contrasts with the use of the adjective “great”
which is a strongly positive word. This represents the mix of fear and awe the
Stanza 2: Analysis
● This stanza is dedicated to showing the beauty and strength the snake has.
● “he quested”, the snake is here linked to a knight gone on an adventure. On the one
hand a knight is a brave soldier fighting for his king, he is a hero. On the other, he is
a violent person that kills many people and can be perceived as ruthless. Once
again, the author shows the mixed feelings she has about the snake.
● “diamond” shows the breathtaking beauty of the snake.
● “we lost breath”, the snake causes them to stop breathing, due to their fear.
Stanza 3: Analysis
● He is for the first time revealed as a true predator, nothing here is sugar coded like
in the past. This is not the time for awe anymore, it is the time for fear. It is a
creature that will kill. However, the author does not choose to be completely explicit
and instead of saying the snake’s intent is to kill, she says “fierce intent”. This
makes our image of the snake less savage, it just shows its power, instead of
depicting it as a monster.
● This stanza reveals the power of the snake and describes it as a predator.“Fled”
The snakes causes fear and everyone runs away from him, afraid they may be
● The repetition of “went” in one verse shows that the author has difficulty formulating
words as she says herself “we scarcely thought”. She has trouble expressing herself
at this point.
● “Our eyes went with him”. They are awed and cannot take their eyes off this snake
they cannot move until it leaves, they are powerless facing the snake.
Stanza 4: Analysis
● “cold, dark and splendid”. Summarised description of the snake .
● “prey” = he is clearly revealed a predator.
● “deeper breath” = calm atmosphere returning.
● “went on” = the snake has gone, they can now move, their life continues.
Reel: a rounded object or cylinder or other device that spins and is used to wind up or let
out wire, rope, film, etc.
Flicker: to burn unsteadily.
Trail: to follow the track, trail, or scent of; track.
Scarcely: probably not.
Quested:the object of a search; goal or target.
Track: a path made by or as if by the feet of people or animals; trail.
Fierce: furiously eager or intense.
Prey: an animal hunted for food.
Fled: to run away from, as from danger or pursuers; take flight from.