Foulchers poetry is shaped by his intense focus on memories and experience. The poems Harry wood and summer rain portray that John Foulcher uses these memories and experiences are created by settings of both time ad place and are expressed though the language and thematic concerns of foulchers poetry. In the poem “Harry Wood”, John Foulcher describes the life of a man he know making it biographical… through Harry’s story we learn that he was a miner, earning money in a time of poverty (probably the great depression).
John Foulcher makes of free verse (lack of rhyme) to tell the story of his life. The poem explores themes of Australian bush life and the harshness associated with this environment. This particular setting portrays the place in which Harry spent his life. Other themes such as struggle, danger and sacrifice all represent the hardship associated with this time. The poem begins with telling stories from the past about Harry in the mines which is represented with the word “once”. The poem then moves on to the present day in the fourth stanza with the use of the word “now”.
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There is also a hint of the future in the final stanza where is grandchildren will benefit from his hard work. This style used to tell the story changes time throughout to help the reader become involved with the struggle of Harry’s life. Our first introduction to place is the talk of mines in the first stanza. Alliteration is used to describe the particular place in the second stanza with “sleek coal caves” which shows the reader where Harry worked and how he visioned the setting.
The use of onomatopoeia in the third stanza is also used to describe the place of the mines with “the shovels rattled the earth” gives the reader sound and images of the mines when they were all of a sudden abanded. The imagery throughout the fifth stanza represents the fast, approaching death on harry though his surroundings on the farm. “kangaroo bones with pocked skin and maggot bubbles of flesh edge the house and yard” provides the reader with a vile image of harry’s farm in which he spent the later years of his life.
The poem “Summer Rain” is set on a highway during a traffic jam, an xperience many people have experienced. The start of the poem sets the scene economically, informing the reader that it is 4 o’clock and that the cars “clutter on the highway”. This gives the reader a visual image of peak hour traffic on a highway, so they can now almost see what is going on in the poem. Foulcher compares the cars to a familiar object, writing, “clutter on the highway like abacus beads”. This simile gives the reader another important visual image. That is the image of traffic grouping as it slowly moves along the highway.