Harpur vs Kendall

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.

“A Mid-Summer Noon in the Australian Forest” by Charles Harpur.

Harpur values the quietness, unpredictability and beauty of the Australian forest. In the first line of the poem he states, “Not a bird disturbs the air”, which makes me believe by stating that birds disturb the air, he isn’t particularly fond of sounds as they annoy him. Seconding this, he states in the fourth line of the first stanza, “What a mighty stillness broods”, which by choosing the words mighty it accentuates how glorious the silence and stillness of the air is appealing to him.

Within the third stanza he presses on his values of unpredictability and beauty of the forest incessantly. There is a big change in Harpurs voice from, “Only there’s a drowsy humming/From yon warm lagoon slow coming:/ ‘Tis the dragon-hornet-See!” The excitement and change in voice from tranquil to excited brings not only contrast to the poem but displays how much unpredictability appeals to him. Harpur creates powerful imagery through saying, “Its shards flame out like gems on fire.” By taking an insect and comparing it to a jewel tells us that he believes the hornet to be beautiful despite its erratic and unpredictable nature.

In the fourth stanza, Harpur skillfully personifies Summer. He creates this aura of tranquility and relaxation by stating, “Tired Summer, in her forest bower/ Turning with the noontide hour/ Heaves a slumbrous breath”. He then accentuates his love for the silence by finishing in the final stanza with, “In this grassy, cool recess/ Musing thus of Quietness”.

“Bell-Birds” by Henry Kendall.

Personally, I wasn’t as fond of “Bell-birds” as much as Harpurs work simply because I feel Harpurs voice was much more soothing. Despite the constant rhythm within “Bell-Birds”, I found it to be slightly disjointed in parts and difficult to understand.

One thing I found that Kendall really valued which is different to Harpur is his love for the sounds of the Bell Bird. Reminiscing in his final stanza, “Often I sit, looking back to a childhood” he establishes his intimate connection between himself and the birds.
“Longing for power and the sweetness to fashion/ Lyrics with beats like the heart beats of passion-/ Songs interwoven of lights and of laughters/ Borrowed from bell-birds in the far forest rafters”.

Kendall opposed to Harpur also finds the “silver voiced bell-birds” to be soothing and relaxing in contrast to pure silence. Despite this, they both find an idea of the Australian forest to be beautiful which is either the Bell bird or the Hornet. Whilst Harpur compares the Hornet to a jewel, Kendall compares the Bell birds to have a sporadic fairy like nature which ventures on to emphasise the beauty of the “hues of their feathers”. Both poems despite being expressed in a different voice and having different values have both portrayed their love for the Australian forest and what lies within.

Image from: https://www.google.com.au/search?q=bellbird&espv=2&biw=1242&bih=566&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiEvsX2rOfMAhVKHJQKHdr5BJkQ_AUIBygC#imgrc=hbCvRqvFXfDdwM%3A


4 thoughts on “Harpur vs Kendall

  1. felicitymcmanus says:

    Hey Brianna,
    Wow, what an interesting blog!! I love your detailed analysis of the poems, it shows that you really know your stuff and understand the poems really well, too 🙂 I really like your comparison at the end of both the animals in these two poems (the dragon-hornet and the bell-birds) and how, despite their different ways of expressing it, both the authors see the beauty of the Australian landscape through these two creatures. Well done! 🙂


  2. michaelgriffith1 says:

    Excellent entry on these two poets- although your image did not load. Just check this: you may have given the wrong URL ???
    *Please attend to editing your work carefully. Here is what I have picked up:
    *Harpurs voice= Harpur’s voice[‘s or s’ – Apostrophe- if there is a meaning of ownership ( the boy’s apple/ the boys’ apples) then you need an apostrophe. See http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/621/01/. But don’t use apostrophe s for normal plurals!!!]


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