Judith Beveridge is a poet of great detail. Her poems are written with strong use of language. Strong imagery of her observations and contrasts of her views help create her poems meaning and effect on the reader. Beveridge’s texts are valuable to the understanding of human and nature’s precious life, and her appreciation for life in all. Through her two poems ‘the domesticity of Giraffes’ and ‘the streets of Chippendale’ these both communicate her ideas and values the strongest.
One of Beveridge’s strongest values is of life, in ‘the domesticity of giraffes’ this is displayed from the first sentence of the second stanza. ‘I think of her graceful on her plain’ Beveridge puts herself into the poem, her thoughts of the giraffe in her natural state, gracefully running in the wild. The entire second stanza is crammed with imagery; each line creates a new picture in the mind of the giraffe being free. A strong metaphor end the stanza ‘She could be a big slim bird before flight’ this metaphor symbolising that could be the giraffe’s freedom.
This is Beveridge’s only positive stanza throughout this poem this is very effective to display her thoughts on what the giraffes life should look be like. Continuing into the poem, violence and pain in the giraffe is described strongly using several similes. ‘ Her tongue like a black leather strap’,’ bruised apple eyed’ words of strong violence and pain as though the giraffe appears beaten up and battered, this use of violent imagery is disturbing and makes you think deeper about how the giraffes natural appearance seems to have disappeared.
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Beveridge observes the giraffe licking the wire for salt and gazing around her pen, her gaze has the loneliness of smoke’. Beveridge describes the giraffes unnatural habits, she becomes a part of the poem again by ‘ offering the giraffe the salt of her hand’ ‘ the giraffe in sensual agony’, this point of desperation for the giraffe is extremely unnatural and saddening to see her have to go to such measures to have what she needs. In ‘the streets of Chippendale’ life is at its lowest.
For a suburb that seems so upper class and pleasant for the names of the streets Ivy, vine, rose and myrtle are so beautiful, all of these names are very misleading. Life in Chippendale is rough, alcoholic and sad. Beveridge uses juxtaposition to contrast the names of the streets with what they sound to be. ‘Abercrombie sounds like the eccentric unmarried third cousin’ ‘but Abercrombie’s different’. Beveridge personifies the street as though it is a grumbling, alcoholic, causing trouble and disturbance.
There is so much violence, as though men are fighting in their drunken confident state to up their lacking self esteem. ‘Sad daughter of the ruined slipper’ violence sexual abuse nothing of what is accepted in society. The community of Chippendale has no value anymore, no society morals exist. Life is not valued or precious, there seem to be no happy memories to ever come from this place ‘ streets go to wall like families’ ‘ ivy vine rose and myrtle not one of your descendants mourns your loss’ the people of Chippendale don’t want to remember this place at all.
Though above the grime and run down nature, ‘Thomas and Edward have climbed to new heights, incomes and renovations, things are slightly looking up in one small part of town. The streets of Chippendale are very male dominated. Beveridge particularly portrays this with certain lines, images in our minds from the words beer mates drunks and work boot bruises come together to create the image of a man after work, in his late night alcoholic state. This poem shows a strong inequality between men and women. The tale of Abercrombie Street is dark and sad.
The street is personified as a pub crawler. ‘Hits the bottle with a dozen pubs, grumbles like a drunken parent, these similes reflect Beveridge’s views on how the street behaves. Beer mates come together her with a feel for violence ‘someone smashes the street lights’’ sad daughter of the ruined slipper’ Beveridge has created the image of Chippendale to be one big self destructed mess. The feeling of male dominancy and female inequality is overwhelmed throughout the poem and is valuable to show how society can really be this way.
The same dominancy is seen in ‘the domesticity of giraffes’ in desperation the female giraffe needs salt. But in no natural way can she get enough. The male bull indolently lets down his penis drenching the pavement. Beveridge uses emotive language to describe how the female giraffe in desperation goes for whets her needs. ‘She thrusts her tongue under his rich stream to get moisture for her thoundath chew. The word thrusts create the image of the female giraffe lowering herself to his waste to get what she needs.
Throughout every one of Judith Beveridge poems, her structure and language forms that she uses are what make her poems phenomenal. By use of strong imagery, similes, juxtaposition and personification our minds can picture what she has written about clearly. The pain of the giraffe in its enclosure would not seem as harsh and unwanted if it was not for the violent images that are created in our minds and the several similes to compare how the image seems in real life.
She languorously swings her tongue’ like a black leather strap ‘bruised apple eyed’’ legs stark as telegraph poles’ Beveridge seems effortless in creating this giraffes appearance. Juxtaposition is repetitively used throughout Beveridge’s poems this is useful to create and enhance different images in our minds. Chippendale’s streets are personified and their names are explained as what they sound to be, ivy vine rose and myrtle, Hugo and Louis, Abercrombie they could have been the homes of kindly aunts, respected gentlemen strolling past, but they’re nothing but beer mates of Abercrombie.
In this poem juxtaposition and enjambment are Beveridge’s two strongest language forms these help create a certain image of the town, and help the poem to flow right through and connect nicely. Each of Beveridge’s poems is valuable. Each explores human’s exploitation to nature and morals of society. The issue of life and its value, men and women’s inequality are actively discussed through both poems ‘the domesticity of giraffes’ and ‘the streets of Chippendale’ both poems are valuable to create one persons view that not many other people observe so deeply.
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