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Bruce Dawe is a prominent Australian poet born in 1930, in Geelong.

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Introduction

Bruce Dawe is a prominent Australian poet born in 1930, in Geelong. His experiences as a laborer, postman, gardener, and in particular his 9 years as a sergeant in the Royal Australian Air Force, have enabled him to recollect and articulate his memories into a renowned compendium, Sometimes Gladness, which has been described as "perhaps the most successful book of verse by a contemporary Australian poet". His anthology contains a variety of poems. The three I will be discussing include The Day that They Shot Santa Claus, The Wholly Innocent, and Homo Suburbiensis, all of which focus on life (or the lack of it) and its ups and downs. The Day That They Shot Santa Claus tells a story through the eyes of a bystander; obviously in central Melbourne (the reference to Bourke St). ...read more.

Middle

Interpretations, however, depend on reader reactions. The Wholly Innocent gives a first person account of a life not lived. Like The Day That They Shot Santa Claus, the attitude of the speaker is downcast and despondent. However, the two poems differ in the way that The Wholly Innocent portrays a character that would have loved to have experienced what life has to offer, and their incessant complaints of not being able to "Rejoice at sun or star" leads us to believe that the poem is about abortion. This is supported by phrases such as "bloody space", "down into the bucket thrust" and the reference to genocide. The poem is composed of 8 quatrains, which consist of 4 and 3 iambic feet in alternation. ...read more.

Conclusion

The three poems have similarities in themes and contrasts in structure and the more specific details. The Day That They Shot Santa Claus and The Wholly Innocent both relatively short and regularly structured, focus on the loss and lack of innocence and true natural wonder; the first having lost it, and the latter not being able to experience that kind of loss. Homo Suburbiensis, on the other hand explores the past with a certain lack of consistent form. Nevertheless, all three poems are unique in the way they elaborate on Bruce Dawe's view of the world, whether they are expressed satirically, like The Day That They Shot Santa Claus, from a first-person view in The Wholly Innocent, or just ordinarily, like a story-line. ...read more.

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