Hone Tuwhare, a New Zealand citizen, shows the importance of metaphors in his two famous poems. They are ‘No Ordinary Sun’ and ‘Bus Journey South’. Metaphor is the use of two or more nouns, where the writer compares and contrasts them. This is not the same as similes.
‘No Ordinary Sun’ by Hone Tuwhare
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Hone Tuwhare published it in 1964. It was the best-selling poem. He was the first person of Maori ancestry in New Zealand to write a book in English. Since then he was a famous poet and wrote several other poems. The theme of the poem was the anti-nuclear theme. He metaphorically used the sun, which has natural radiation, to represent the bomb. The bomb is a nuclear radiation.
The poem’s title shows that the author is very convinced that ‘ordinary sun’ does not exist. He attempts to prove this in his poem. He claims that sun can never be ordinary since it is the main source of human survival. The metaphor of the sun and the nuclear bomb shows that the bomb can never be a natural radiation.
He then uses a tree as a natural metaphor to represent the presence of human life on the planet. In the first line, ‘tree let your arms fall’, the author uses the tree arms to represent the manmade military. The rest of the first stanza shows the tree and the sun are at different hierarchy levels. The use of axe and fire is a signal that the tree should avoid its traditions. This shows that there is a documented problem between the tree and the sun.
In the second stanza, the writer continues to show the hierarchical differences between the tree and the sun. The sun reveals of how the tree will be when it accomplishes its plans. It reveals of how the landscape will be when the nuclear explosion gets accomplished.
The author says ‘tree let your naked arms fall’. This means that the tree cannot be the servant of the sun. The sun has won. The line ‘the fading green of your fading emanations shall not make pure again’ reveals how awful the world will look after the bomb. ‘These polluted skies’ shows the nuclear gases effect on the sky, as they will not be clear again. The repeated negations in the second, last, stanza represent the metaphor negating the title of the poem. It even ends the stanza with ‘no ordinary sun’.
The line, ‘sap shall not rise again, to the moon’s pull’ shows gravitational power between the earth and the cosmos coming to a halt. In the poem the relationship between the sun and the tree ceases to exist.
As the writer concludes, the tree is no longer the metaphor for human. The writer fails to use metaphors. He shows how the unheeding humans’ figures turn to the monstrous power, oblivious of the damage it has done. In the last stanza, the use of shadowless mountains, White Plains and drag sea floors shows the effects of the nuclear attacks.
The whole poem is also a metaphor to represent the nuclear bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. The people got permanent scars on their bodies. The nuclear bomb had an effect on their genes. In the poem, the effects relate to the fading green trees and blue skies.
‘Bus Journey South’ by Hone Tuwhare
In the poem ‘Bus Journey South’, he shows how a confused Maori member is when he finds himself in the south, where there are no Maori people.
He uses the metaphor of his ego getting crushed into pocket size Gulliver pebbles. In the story of the giant man Gulliver, pebbles were so tiny that he could barely see them with his naked eyes. This metaphor shows how the writer’s confidence and self-esteem had been diminished.
In the last part of the poem he says ‘I suck my Gulliver pebble: spit it out again. Too much’. The metaphor here reveals to us his amazement about his surroundings. He shows the extent when he says ‘too much’. ‘Too much’ also serves as a colloquial expression.
The metaphor that shows the subject is the first three lines of the poem where ‘the mountains stand away at a distance, radar like tracking, cutting my ego, down to a pocket size Gulliver pebble.’ Author treats the mountains like living creatures. He therefore believes in animism.
‘The bus belches away’ represents the sound of the bus moving as it changes gears. The writer looks behind and feels the sadness of leaving. This is underlined in metaphor when he says ‘dead leaves lying lightly by the road rise, pirouette and collapse in a twinkling whirlpool of amber light’. Normally this is how leaves behave when a car passes by.
The whole poem appears as a metaphor. Its role is to show how the community in New Zealand was perceived. It is also evident that Hone used colloquial expressions in his poems. He uses other stylistic figures like allegory and humor to write his poems. The use of the metaphors in his poems shows that they are essential in writing of poems. He was, therefore, announced as a legendary poet. Hone Tuwhare died in 2008. His poems have been turned into songs by some famous musicians.
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