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Slessors poem Wild Grapes gives readers a

medium in which to look at the world in his eyes.


Through the manipulation of many components

he reveals details of his personality and


mentality as a man in civilisation as well as his
ideas about the fragility of human-life
bordering on the meta-physical.

Interestingly enough I chose this poem on the


fact that at first it is hard to read, Slessor uses
a large amount of enjambment that makes it
difficult to pinpoint where accentuation of
words must be placed which in a very unique
way gives a symbolic link to the idea of
lingering in the past, a theme played on in
Wild Grapes quite extensively.
Wild Grapes also gives us the theme of
mortality, as in bridging the distance of life and
death through memory but remaining sombrely
pragmatic by concluding with the defeat of
human effort against the consuming
perseverance of time itself.
In the first line of Wild Grapes we are given a
scene of smoking air in an abandoned old
orchard which creates a very inauspicious and
mysterious atmosphere that lingers throughout
the rest of the poem. It also introduces a
possible context for the poem; perhaps the left
over smoke from guns in war or the remains of
a fire, this ambiguity is left for the reader to
decide.
The use of the words broken and vanished
contribute further to the image of the orchard,
introducing both decay and desolation. A sense
of nostalgic despair is evoked, the word despair
itself rhyming with the soft sounding words that
end the first two and last sentence of stanza
one.

It is only in stanza
two that we discover
the narrator knows
this place,
remembering
where the cherries
grew and apples
bright as dogstars
Generating a much
brighter image that
can be compared to
the Garden of Eden,
an allusion that is
then shattered
before its climax
with the words now
there is not.
The only thing that
lingers are these
sour and bitter fruit,
which he calls
Isabella grapes.
Slessor vividly
describes these
grapes, using
irresolute language
such as halfsavage and the
oxymoron of gipsysweet as if he
cannot comprehend
his own feelings
about Isabella the
dead girl, who has
lingered on.
Ending with the line
Kissed here ------ or
killed here ------but
who remembers
now? the rhetorical
question passes the
burden of

ambivalent perplexity onto the reader. A


comment on the course of events taken in life,
whether it be the strong passion of love or even
memory, no matter how tempestuous it can be
taken by time.

The only thing that lingers are these sour and


bitter fruit, which he calls Isabella grapes.
Slessor vividly describes these grapes, using
irresolute language such as half-savage and
the oxymoron of gipsy-sweet as if he cannot
comprehend his own feelings about Isabella
the dead girl, who has lingered on.

Ending with the line


Kissed here ------ or
killed here ------but
who remembers
now? the rhetorical
question passes the
burden of
ambivalent
perplexity onto the
reader. A comment
on the course of
events taken in life,
whether it be the
strong passion of
love or even
memory, no matter
how tempestuous it
can be taken by
time.