Judith Wright and Bruce Dawe both write poetry with universal themes. Choose one poem by each poet and explain what theme / s each poem conveys and how these themes are conveyed.


Australian poets Judith Wright and Bruce Dawe write poems presenting their perspective of live. Their poems are subjective and convey universal theme which men and women can understand and relate to. In Wright's poem, Remittance Man, the universality of the poem is brought out through the events which occur, and the themes which are conveyed. The themes of Remittance Man include the lives of individual nomads, cycle of life, and contrasting of the old world to the new world. These universal themes are conveyed through the tone and poetic techniques Wright has incorporated in the poem. Similarly in Dawe's poem, Drifters, the universality is brought out through the subject and the themes of the poem. The themes of Drifters are the lives of nomadic families, cycle of life, and no permanent place. These universal themes are also conveyed similar to that of Remittance Man, through the persona and the imagery contrasts Dawe has used through the poem.

In the poem Remittance Man, the theme of lives of individual nomads is conveyed through the spendthrift, and the tone of the poem. Similarly in the poem, Drifters, the theme of lives of nomadic families is conveyed through the family and Dawe's attitude towards the subject. It is recognised from the tone of the poem, that both poets are sympathetic towards nomads. Wright displays a sympathetic tone in Remittance Man, as it is clear from the last stanza of the poem, "closed its magnificence . . . polished by diligent ants". This line has a lot of emotions incorporated within, and from her selection of words, she is able to produce a glimmer of hope for the remittance man in his after life. Wright has metaphorically implied his sins are cleansed, when the ants are carefully polishing his bones, and he will finally rest in peace.

Similarly in Drifters, Dawe has also displayed a glimmer of hope in the last line of the poem. Dawe has placed it in the last line implying not to give up, because there is always hope of finding a permanent place to live at. This line is very significant in the poem, as it brings out the hope of every time the family moves to a new place. The tone at the beginning of the poem is futile and conceited show the family are upset when they have to move from a place they have adapted and enjoyed. As the poem ends hopeful for every new place, and conceited for every time they have to move, the poem is a cycle, which inturn brings forward the theme cycle of life.

The theme cycle of life is evident in both poems, Remittance Man and Drifters. In Remittance Man, the spendthrift lives an individual life, and has easily forgotten his past and "took to the life" he presently lived in Australia. He was a wanderer and did what ever pleased himself as there was no constraint in his life as he did in England which is visually impacted, in the structure of the poem, where the first stanza is relatively short, as he had lived a constrained life in England and his memories of England are diminishing. In contrast to stanza 2, there are more lines as it shows the spendthrift has lived most of his life in Australia, and that he has assimilated to the bush life. His days are also long and boring, as illustrated in the long stanza 2. His death occurs in stanza 3, and the stanza is relatively the same length as stanza 1 which inturn produces an insight of the cycle of life, the spendthrift has.

In contrast, Drifters starts with a pretentious tone which is evident with the kids response of "Truly?". It is clear that it is not a real emotion experienced because the kids are "wildly excited for no reason". The repetitiveness of the word "And. ." also give an insight of a repetitive miserable life. This repetition conveys across the idea of a cycle, which is conveying the theme of the cycle of life.

Similar to Remittance Man,