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The Bay - James K Baxter

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Critical analysis and interpretation of "The Bay" by James K Baxter James K Baxter wrote poems that talked about his own countryside and the people who lived there and though "The Bay" has a tone of nostalgia he claims that "what happens [in his writing] is either meaningless to [him] or else it is mythology". "The Bay" does touch on some mythology in the last line of the second stanza when he walks about the "taniwha." and he uses nature and his surroundings to identify with his feelings and describe them. He finds himself "On the road to the bay" recalling moments in his childhood. How they "bathed at times and changed in the bamboos" and how they "raced boats from the banks of the pumice creek/ Or swam in...autumnal shallows." ...read more.


There is an impending danger and something bad is about to happen from this point - "waiting for the taniwha" [In Maori mythology, taniwha is a being that is found in deep parts of rivers, lakes or in the sea where the currents are dangerous.] The scene becomes eerie with the presence of "little spiders/ On driftwood so poisonous and quick." And as the danger grows much closer, the mood gets more darker - "The carved cliffs and the great out crying surf/ With currents round the rocks and the birds rising." The significance of "the birds rising" is to show how close this danger was to him. Birds are known to rise on such occasions. His life is at a turmoil and a lot of bad things were happening to him at the time. ...read more.


"And stand stone still and cannot turn away., as though he were waiting for an answer to a question in his life, or figuring out where it went wrong in his life that he ended up "Nowhere". Baxter says, "The bay that never was." It was a place that brought him happiness and he spent great moments here but all the while, underneath the surface, there were bad memories as well and moments of sadness. He suggests that happiness may not exist and has no meaning. The Bay was his escape when he was younger and as he grew older he begun to realize the many things that were wrong around him - "little spiders...so poisonous and quick". From this point on, the poet suggests that his life had never been as happy or as fulfilled as it is "Not that veritable garden where everything comes easy". Because he "now remembered...the bay that never was." ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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