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Continuum

In: English and Literature

Submitted By rashjoy31
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Continuum
The poem ‘Continuum’ by Allen Curnow revolves around the central theme of poetic inspiration, how it ebbs and flows. He describes himself and his thoughts on a particular night, when he is unable to sleep because his mind is alive and restless. He seems to be in the grip of a poetic impulse that struggles for expression within him. This poem is the medium through which he conveys his experience, and he does so in a very interesting manner. ‘Continuum’ begins with a striking image of the moon “roll[ing] over the roof” and falling behind the poet’s house. It is an animated image of the moon, which has the lucidity of a child’s imagination and so successfully grabs our attention. But even as the reader reacts with mild surprise and pleasure at the novelty of this queer idea, the poet cuts us short with a very matter-of-fact and obvious truth: “the moon does neither of these things”. Curnow is referring to himself. The image of the moon may be interpreted as a symbol of his unsteady train of thought. This and the contradiction thus serve to establish the confusion and indecision in the poet’s mind. Also, the moon is a symbol of poetic muse. Thus the falling moon becomes a metaphor for his sinking poetic abilities. The moon is supposed to be steady but it has lost its balance, as if to suggest that poetic inspiration is not a steady source; it waxes and wanes like the moon. The poet tries to sleep but cannot. There seems to be a conflict between the man and his muse: the man must get some sleep but the poet inside him cannot put his thoughts to rest, agonising over a vaguely formed idea that he is unable to articulate. He feels that, rather than struggle with himself over sleep, he should go outdoors. Nature and the outside world seem to be the source the poet relies on to stimulate the creative thoughts in his mind. Interestingly, the poet leans “from” his

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