Looking at these two poems describing a natural scene (“A Mid-Summer Noon…” & “Bell-Birds”, say what you think each poet values and how they differ in their appreciation and their expression
With the two poems “A Mid-Summer Noon.in the Australian Forest” by Charles Harpur and “Bell-Birds” by Henry Kendall, they explore the different aspects of the Australian landscape. While both poets describe the joy and beauty of the landscape, both perspectives portray the various ways that the landscape can be interpreted and allow themselves to show their gratitude and appreciation for the landscape as previously in the early days of settlement, the landscape was viewed harshly by the wider audiences such as traditional Englishmen and artists.
In the poem, “A Mid-Summer Noon in the Australian Forest” Harpur creates a peaceful atmosphere. In my opinion the silence of the environment is symbolic of Harpur’s awe and respect of the landscape as he states in the first stanza that “even the busy ants are found Resting”. The idea of everything being tranquil allows the audience to see the landscape from Harpur’s perspective. But in the second stanza, Harpur changes the pace of the poem as he completely focuses on one element of the environment, the Dragon-Hornet and describes it as majestic. This description of the beetle is very similar to the way Kendall illustrates the landscape on a whole. With Kendall’s description of the landscape in “Bell-Birds”, his tone seems to yearn to return to this environment as he reminisces of his childhood of being able to lose himself in the environment. Unlike Harpur’s second stanza only focuses on a single element of the environment, Kendall illustrates the excitement and energy of the Australian landscape as a whole with particular references to the sound of the bell-birds.
I do find these poems beautifully written but I believe that the poets over exaggerate the certain parts of the environment as Harpur states unrealistically that the environment is silent and also with Kendall’s description in the second stanza with statements such as “the thunder-bolts hurdle, They hide with their fear in the leaves”. Personally, I really appreciate their love for the Australian landscape but because their descriptions are so over the top, I find their works almost ironic because of the poets’ selection of the language that they use to describe the environment. With statements such as “Till rising in the sunshine higher, Its shards flame out like gems on fire” from A Mid-Summer Noon in the Australian Forest and “Struggles the light that is love to the flowers” from Bell-birds show that both the poets use very descriptive personification to show their appreciation for the landscape and that the language that is used is not completely unrealistic but it so drawn out from the truth.
Image from https://wangiwriter.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/the-australian-bush-calls/