© 2014 — Australian Poetry Journal

Since being introduced to this poem, I have heard many different interpretations either from others in my group or from reading about it in web sites or books.

Life-Cycle:Written in the 1960’s this poem is one of the most famous of Dawe’s collection.

There are many contributing factors that bring a poem and song to life, yet we cannot say that all the factors depicted by the author have an effect on every reader.


Such themes appear early in his published poems, e.g.

Within this poem Bruce Dawe dramatizes the homecoming of Australian veterans' bodies from Vietnam.

In spite of that protest about a critical view that has really never been widely held, ‘the governing pastoral vision with all its ambivalence toward technology’, in the words of Lawrence Bourke, remains firmly in place in these poems.


Throughout Wordsworth’s poem he uses personification.

PANTUN: A verse form from Malaysia. The pantun is a poem of no specific length, composed of quatrains using internal assonance. The rhymes are interlinked much like in the sense that the second and fourth lines of each stanza become the first and third lines of the following stanza. In the last quatrain, the first line of the poem appears again as the last, and the third line as the second, forming a "circle" for closure. (Alternatively, the poet may end the work with a simple couplet). Ernest Fouinet introduced the genre to French literature in the 1800s. Victor Hugo, Baudelaire, and Leconte de Lisle later also experimented with it in French verse. Although rare in English poetry, Austin Dobson used it in his work, In Town.

The most successful poems masterfully give readers the Ah Ha.

At the end of 2017 the Sydney Review of Books will celebrate five years online. Over this period, we have published more than five hundred essays by almost two hundred Australian writers. To mark the occasion, we’re publishing an anthology of essays from the SRB on Australian fiction, poetry and non-fiction called The Australian Face.

His most recent poems can be found in

His experiences as a laborer, postman, gardener, and in particular his 9 years as a sergeant in the Royal Australian Air Force, have enabled him to recollect and articulate his memories into a renowned compendium, Sometimes Gladness, which has been described as “perhaps the most successful book of verse by a contemporary Australian poet”.

Ordering the poems was, in a sense, much like writing a poem.

The poem could be interpreted two ways; one way is that the poem depicts a group of military recruits receiving a lecture from their head officer on guns and how to use them.