Les Murray’s poem “Widower in the country” is a portrait of a man whose wife has died. The poem is the daily routine of a countryman who is depicted as still grieving for the loss of his wife, his sense of liveliness disappeared and the absence of feeling. The man’s schedule is very ordered and quite tedious, no excitement in the menial tasks, he is almost robot-like as he trudges around the property labouring. The poem, written in iambic pentameter starts with a moving image of the man’s bed that presumably was occupied by a wife before she passed away, this impression of the unmade bed makes the reader think about what was in the marriage.
Through the first stanza, not only is the man fixated on him by using first person narrator, in addition he is putting things off until later, “I’ll get up soon… I’ll go outside”. This notion of putting off tasks reveals that the countryman is depressed, he never feels like doing the job at that time. As the narrator reveals, there once could have been a family, the “Christmas paddocks” indicates that there would have once been a joyful time during Christmas with a family.
As the widower is gazing over the paddocks, delaying his duties, we notice that he has no direction in his life, there is an absence of force or being involved, this has been portrayed through “the windless trees”. Then there is evidence of the slackness of the man, through “the nettles in the yard… ” it shows us that he has jobs to do and the property is unkempt, the ellipsis exposes that there are probably more jobs that the widower has neglected to finish.
In the second stanza, the narrator once again uses first person singular that emphasizes the fact that he is focused on himself and probably feeling self pity about is woeful self. As the man takes a walk, he looks down on the house and begins to cry, but instead of bluntly telling the readers this, he uses the sun reflecting off the tin roof as an excuse as the “roof reflects the sun and makes my eyes water”. As the stanza draws to an end, the character seems lost in his own worries as he ponders what he will do when the sun moves from the house, “I will simply watch, or work, or sleep”.
In the last stanza, the man eats his dinner, where once he would’ve eaten with others, in the authority position “at the head of the table”. The man’s plain meal of “corned beef supper” illustrates the tedious life he leads, it symbolises the way he ploughs through life. Through the man’s dream, we see the sub conscious view of him, as he wakes up screaming to himself, which he once again blames on something else, willing to push the blame away from him.
Throughout Les Murray’s poem, we see a man lost in self-pity whose daily routine consists of menial tasks that he may eventually do. The widower’s absence in direction and life is illustrated by the “windless trees” and his inability to annunciate his emotion to the world, which would help him to recover his life. Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Geoffrey Chaucer section. Download this essay Print Save Here’s what a teacher thought of this essay 3 star(s).