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How does Bruce Lundgren explores relationship in his Poetry

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Every body has various type of relationship in their lives. Bruce Lundgren is fond of exploring relationships in his poetry, the childhood/parent relationships in ‘My father’s Dahlias’; while in ‘Mr Death’ and “The Farmer Retires To Town” Lundgren explores relationships with the natural world. Through different techniques Lundgren presents his thoughts and feelings on relationships of life.

In the poem “Mister Death”, the use of personification in the title brings death to life and offers him an identity and title. This presents a unique way of viewing death as natural, and acceptable and also indicated the relationship of his own mortality. The poem sets in a retirement home, ‘Mr Death’ comes alive and guards the place and watches over the elders in case one day he is needed.

Mr Death is more of a person’s relationship to the nature, or rather the supernatural world. Death is fearful, as it is mystical, people tend to imagine the worst and fear even more. However, Lundgren presents a more sensible and smoothing view, intending to make it seem like extrication rather than suffering in life. Many alliterations are used to present Mr Death’s qualities, like ‘constant and caring’, ‘practised and punctual’, ‘pauses and pensive’. All lists of Mr Death’s actions, shows how he is as a person, doing his job like a normal person. Among this all, the Simile “as constant and … as a gardener” smartly referred death as a gardener which brought up the old saying,” death is pushing up the daisy” As death is taking away people’s life therefore its also a euphemism of death.

The similes used also created a mysterious image of death. It referred death as a delicate bird, gardener and nurse that is the opposite of what people sees it. This is rather elusive and slippery which highlighted the relationship of human with death, which we all know what death is but no one could ever get a close look at it.

“He watches with mild interest…in number thirty four” The word mild and “number thirty four” suggested that Mr death is just doing his job with not much emotion and interest. In the last stanza, Mr death visited the old man and the old lady to decide when to come to pick them up. The technique of personification is explored further of death “He pause, pensive and decides…at early magpie time, in case he is needed then.” Once again, we can see that death is doing his job very distant, polite and business like. “Early Magpie time” is used here to show how life still carries on and death is after all a part of lift and nature. Lundgren expressed his aspect of nature relationship through the use of various language devices in “Mister Death” that is no one would ever escape death so accept it as a natural thing.

Figurative language and imagery are often used by Lundgren to make his characters and poems more vivid and compelling. ‘My Father’s Dahlias’ is about a young boy’s desire to communicate with his father and to get affection and attention. The poem is told through the boy’s perspective, his innocence, worry and yearning for love touches readers. With the use of symbolism and imagery, responders get a clear view of the spiked and rigid dahlias as the father and the insignificant weeds as the neglected son.

‘Dahlias remind me of my father

Their spiked and rigid heads…’

‘Bright nasturtiums, rollicking weeds’

“My father’s dahlias” illustrates a bitter and regretful story of a conservative and ordered father and his communication barrier with his young son. The first stanza compares the father to the exotic, introduced flower dahlia, then follow by his care and love for his flowers and garden. The poem ended with a juxtaposition of the native common weeds to the hard to pamper dahlias, especially the bitter rhetorical question ‘…should I perhaps have joined the line of dahlias standing there’ leaves the readers feeling empty and in sorrow. Lundgren constructs his poem in such form to lead readers through the story. The constant stanza structure and rhythm seem to reflect the precise and the ordered personality of the father.

Unlike the persona in ‘My father’s Dahlias’ is a young boy; ‘Love’s string’ is told through a man’s perspective. As he experiences love and romance, the persona in this poem is more mature, he has worries, has doubted love and till he finally realises the power of love could hold him and support him. His voice through the poem is strong, tender, contented and optimistic. In contrast to the boy from the previous poem, he is young and naïve, his world seems to revolve around his aloof father and his goal is to get attention. This is quite pathetic and sympathetic. “The Farmer Retires To Town” is a free verse poem explored relationship from the persona’s relationship with the town and the country. This poem described the contrast between the towns and the country, reality and memory from an old retired farmer’s perspective and expressed the loss and nostalgia that felt by the old man.

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