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”Spring Hail”, ”The widower” by Les Murray, ”Sky High” by Hannah Robert

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Change is inevitable, yet it can be denied depending on who and when they experience this change and also on the passing of time. Time can bring forth wanted and unwanted change. In ‘Sky High’ by Hannah Robert, Les Murray’s ‘Spring Hail’ and ‘The Widower in the Country’ and ‘Here Without You’ by 3 Doors Down all demonstrate various aspects of how change is due to the passing of time, which is inevitable.

In the text, ‘Sky High’ by Hannah Robert, change is seen as something which is as a result of the change in time and how change can bring maturity. The persona is remembering back on how she changed from a carefree, innocent child to the mature, responsible adult that she is today. She reminisces her childhood by the washing line, which has also changed over time, like herself. She was closely attached to the washing line as she used to gain her so-called ‘freedom’ from ‘flying’ on it. Hannah Robert uses personification – “silver skeletal arms throwing long summer afternoon shadows” in order to highlight he relationship between herself and the washing line. It can be seen that the washing line was the important object in her childhood as that is the thing that she “remembers first”.

However, now the washing line is no longer something which she can discover freedom from, as now, as an adult, she has so many responsibilities which do not allow her to be free and follow her heart. As she says -“so many things are tying me to the ground”.

Imagery is also used to illustrate the physical change which has occurred to her and the washing line. As time has passed, her hands are now described as “beginning to accumulate the line-etched story of life in scars and wrinkles” and the washing line having “sagging wires” This suggests that as the time passed, she also changed, not only mentally but also physically, just like the washing line. The tone which is used in the first five paragraphs are very much bright and alive, like children, compared the last paragraph, which is very monotonous and nostalgic. This change in tone can be seen as a change in attitude of the composer.

However, in contrast, Les Murray’s poem, ‘Spring Hail’, the tone remains sad and reminiscent all throughout the poem, even though the main idea being communicated by the two texts are the same. ‘Spring Hail’ is also about the composer reminiscing back to his childhood days. Once again, it is related to time and how ‘growing up’ is inevitable. Like ‘Sky High’, it is a transformation from childhood to adulthood. The hailstorm in the poem represents the ‘event’ which is the catalyst for the change. After the hailstorm finishes, there is a change in tone and by the use of assonance which slows down the rhythm – “the beaded violence had ceased”- which shows the change that has occurred in him. The adrenaline, the excitement of being a child had all ‘slowed down’.

Les Murray begins the poem by using a ‘chorus’ which is repetitive and appears between every second stanza. He also uses this chorus to conclude the poem, but it is slightly different to the original, suggesting the change that has take place throughout the poem. Once again, like ‘Sky high’, the poem is written in first person to emphasise the change in inner self and the journey that the persona has to go through in order to change from one thing to another. The use of first person allows the responders to undergo what the composer went through and what he felt about the change. At the end, the persona has accepted the change that had occurred to him as he acknowledges that the transition from and child to an adult is unavoidable.

Nevertheless, change can also be denied. The song ‘ Here without You’ by 3 Doors Down suggests that even though the change took place over time, it can easily be denied by the individual, who has experienced the change, even though everyone else has accepted it. The lover has left him and the whole world has changed for him, because his lover is no longer there with him.

The composer begins the song by mentioning how immense the change was to him by using hyperboles. – “A hundred days have made me colder since the last time that I saw her pretty face. A thousand lies have made me colder and I don’t think I can look at this the same.” He believes that it time which made this change occur in him, whereas the change in his life had already occurred when his lover left him. In the chorus, the composer denies the change by acknowledging the fact that he is by himself without her but she is still in his mind. In reality, his lover has left him, but to him, the lover is still there with him. – “I’m here without you baby but you’re still on my lonely mind” There is constant enjambment throughout the verses and the constant uses of conjunctions such as and & but, which is ironic because the continuity doesn’t not change at all in the song. This can be seen to represent the continuous, never-changing love that he still has for his lover.

The music is also used to show the change. The song begins very softly with only a guitar as the background music. However, as the song continues, strings are added but the rhythm is yet still calm and slow and the singing is quite soft. Then, towards the end of the first chorus, the piano and drums are introduced, making the song pick up a faster pace and rhythm and is much stronger than the beginning. And then, at the bridge, just before the last chorus is sung, the music is very loud, emphasising the fact that gradual change is occurring in the background, but the persona does not realise this change and still denies the fact the his lover is gone. This is ironic because where the music is loudest, the persona confirms that his love ‘will not change’. -“And when the last one falls, and when it’s all said and done, it gets hard but it won’t take away love.” Then there is a variation in the pace of music where he sings “won’t take…….away……my love…..” to emphasise that his love will truly never change.

Similar to ‘Here Without You’, the poem, ‘The Widower in the Country’ is also about a man who has lost his lover, but he, unlike the persona in ‘Here Without You’, fails to ever mention his lover, thus highlighting thew denial he is in, about his wife’s death. The only thing which tells us about his wife is the title. Again, the use of first person is can be seen to emphasise the fact that this change has affected the persona very personally and also to show the loneliness of the persona because he fails to mention any other person or companion. The persona’s lifestyle has changed because of the wife’s death. He was once a loved husband, but now he is a lonely widower. This loneliness is illustrated by the setting of the poem, the countryside, which can easily be related to stretches of continuous barren land. It is also set in Christmas as the line ‘ Christmas paddocks…in the aching heat” suggests, once again emphasising the extent of the widower’s isolation as Christmas time is about family gatherings and sharing love. The widower has no one.

The use of future tense in the poem indicates that the widower has already settled into a continuous recurring routine and has accustomed to the various changes which resulted from the wife’s death. – “I’ll get up soon, and leave the bed unmade. I’ll go outside…” This is ironic as his routines are the same day after day without any change; however they were created by changes in the widower’s life. This repetition can be seen at the last stanza. The short sentence – “Then I’ll go the bed” suggests that the widower will have to wake up and goes through the same routine every day.

Overall, change is seen as something which is inevitable, especially concerned with time and ‘growing up’, as represented in ‘Sky High’ and ‘Spring Hail’. However, change can also be denied, as supported by the texts ‘Here Without You’ and ‘The Widower in the Country’. Change altogether is seen as something that is negative, bringing sadness, sorrow and nostalgia to a person’s life.

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