Allen Curnow is a poet who writes poetry of the
unanswerable. Show how these ideas are shown in the

“Time” by Allen Curnow is a piece of art very representative of
ethereal things, being time its theme, it’s weird at first sight,
and results very shocking, for it isn’t usual to write upon time.
The structure of the poem is crucial to enhance its reach
to readers, the repetition of “I am”, followed by the description
of some everyday’s action or a common thing, like “I am the
water-race and the rust on railway lines.” When the voice in the
poem announces he is time, every line takes a deeper meaning,
time being everything, part of the essence of things, and that’s
what results most shocking for me, for its connection with
reality, everything, in the end, is reduced to time.
The rhyming pattern is another key point in the poem, the
author used rhythmic triplets to set a tempo, a monotonous
repeating structure, representing a second, always the same.
And as time is constant for everyone everywhere, it’s impossible
to stop its flow.
Readers are able to glimpse a fragment of the author’s life, his
nationality, since many of the nature images present in the poem
refer to his home country, New Zealand; the sole teaches, the
lupines of the beach, the nor’ west breeze through the pines.
These structures, this simple lines referring to Curnow’s early
life, help to set time along with nature, as two forces that must
The last stanza reinforces the theme greatly, as a
summary of all the previous lines, though the voice representing
time says “Am island, am sea, am father, farm, and friend.”
Meaning he’s everywhere, a part of everything, he then asserts,
“Though I am here all things my coming attend” saying that
everything is waiting for his inexorable passage, waiting to get
old and eventually disappear.
This poem is a piece of art difficult to understand at first
sight, its theme is very shocking and hard felt, and the way it’s
written provokes in readers a metaphysical wonder, in my
particular case, I have a feeling of insignificance, like if
everything I did was senseless, for my final destiny is death, it
sets a question beyond comprehension, what do we have after all
our time on Earth has run out?

Juan Pedro Alonso