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Bell Birds - Henry Kendall

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by

Lottie Bull

on 29 November 2013

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Transcript of Bell Birds - Henry Kendall

How does Henry Kendall's poem 'Bell Birds' reflect the poet's life?
Bell Birds
- Henry Kendall
Stanza 1
By channels of coolness the echoes are calling,
And down the dim gorges I hear the creek falling;
It lives in the mountains where moss and the sedges
Touch with their beauty the banks and the ledges.
Through breaks of the cedar and sycamore bowers
Struggles the light that is love to the flowers;
And, softer than slumber, and sweeter than singing
The notes of the bell-birds are running and ringing.

Henry Kendall
Born in Ulladulla NSW
Moved to Clarence River with his family as a teenager
Spent time on Uncle's whaling ship in his teens also
As an adult - was affected by severe mental illness
Bell Birds was first published in the anthology 'Leaves from Australian Forests' in 1869
Poetic Devices
Metaphor
Personification
Enjambment
Alliteration
Simile
Continuing theme of the months of the year
Closed form
Rhyming couplets - AABBCCDD
Octave stanzas
Onomatopoeia
Enjambment
Examples - line 3 to 4
- line 5 to 6
'... where moss and the sedges // touch with their beauty ...'
'... cedar and sycamore bowers //struggles the light ...'
Alliteration & Assonance
By
c
hannels of
c
oolness the echoes are
c
alling,
And
d
own the
d
im gorges I hear the creek falling;
It lives in the
m
ountains where
m
oss and the sedges
Touch with their
b
eauty the
b
anks and the ledges.
Through breaks of the
ce
dar and
sy
camore bowers
Struggles the
l
ight that is
l
ove to the flowers;
And,
s
ofter than
s
lumber, and
s
weeter than
s
inging
The notes of the
b
ell-
b
irds are
r
unning and
r
inging.
Rhyming Couplets
Stanza 2
The silver-voiced bell birds, the darlings of daytime!
They sing in September their songs of the May-time;
When shadows wax strong, and the thunder bolts hurtle,
They hide with their fear in the leaves of the myrtle;
When rain and the sunbeams shine mingled together,
They start up like fairies that follow fair weather;
And straightway the hues of their feathers unfolden
Are the green and the purple, the blue and the golden.
Also known as the Bell Miner
Habitat: water in the mountains of NSW
Distinguishing call - similar to a single bell chime
Synonymous with good luck and optimism
The Bell Bird
Re-enforces child-like idea
Poem uses:
Colons
Semi-colons
Commas
Full stops
Exclamation mark

Simple Punctuation
By channels of coolness the echoes are
calling
,
And down the dim gorges I hear the creek
falling
;
It lives in the mountains where moss and the
sedges
Touch with their beauty the banks and the
ledges
.
Through breaks of the cedar and sycamore
bowers

Struggles the light that is love to the
flowers
;
And, softer than slumber, and sweeter than
singing

The notes of the bell-birds are running and
ringing
.

Rhyme scheme = AA BB CC DD
Used to
reflect
the movement
of the creek.


Long, flowing
sentences
'... thunder bolts hurtle ...'
'... running and ringing ...'
'... dripping rocks gleam ...'
'... leafy pools glisten ...'
Onomatopoeia
' ... they start up
like fairies
...'
' ... the bell-birds ...
like runnels
whose torrents ...'
'Lyrics
like the heart-beats
of passion...'

Simile
Personification
'... echoes are calling ...' (line 1)
'It lives in the mountain...' (line 2)
'... notes ... are running and ringing...' (line 8)
'... they hide with their fear ...' (line 12)
'October, the maiden ...' (line 17)
'...wings of the Morning.' (line 24)
'...strength of the deep moutain valleys...' (line 40)
'... slumber...pain of my losses...' (line 41)


Stanza 3
October, the maiden of bright yellow tresses,
Loiters for love in these cool wildernesses;
Loiters, knee-deep, in the grasses, to listen,
Where dripping rocks gleam and the leafy pools glisten:
Then is the time when the water-moons splendid
Break with their gold, and are scattered or blended
Over the creeks, till the woodlands have warning
Of songs of the bell-bird and wings of the Morning.
Octave Stanza
Each stanza has 8 lines
Each stanza has 4 rhyming couplets

Stanza 2: September & May

Stanza 3: October

Stanza 4: December
Reference to months
Stanza 4
Welcome as waters unkissed by the summers
Are the voices of bell-birds to the thirsty far-comers.
When fiery December sets foot in the forest,
And the need of the wayfarer presses the sorest,
Pent in the ridges for ever and ever
The bell-birds direct him to spring and to river,
With ring and with ripple, like runnels who torrents
Are toned by the pebbles and the leaves in the currents.


'... the light that is love to the flowers...' (line 6)
'Silver-voiced bell-birds...' (line 9)
'... direct him ... with ring and with ripple ... the leaves in the currents.' (line 32)
Metaphor
Closed Form
No variation from Octave Stanzas of rhyming couplets however; there is variation within the sets of 8 lines:

Stanza 1: 2 x 4 line sentences
Stanza 2: 1 x 1 line + 1 x 7 line sentence
Stanza 3: 1 x 8 line sentence
Stanza 4: 1 x 2 line + 1 x 6 line sentence
Stanza 5: 1 x 8 line sentence

There are no exaggerated moments of poetic license taken
Climax - Stanza 3
Melancholy tone - never becomes angry or elated


Hyperbole (lack of...)
Key Themes
Henry Kendall's constant movement
Life in the country vs Life in the city
Danger
Havens
Passing of time
New South Wales
Religion
Childhood
Religion
Catholic
Enjoyed Bible school
Mother was not religious

Thank
You

Stanza 5
Often I sit, looking back to a childhood,
Mixt with the sights and the sounds of the wildwood,
Longing for power and the sweetness to fashion,
Lyrics with beats like the heart-beats of Passion; -
Songs interwoven of lights and of laughters
Borrowed from bell-birds in far forest-rafters;
So I might keep in the city and alleys
The beauty and strength of the deep mountain valleys:
Charming to slumber the pain of my losses
With glimpses of creeks and a vision of mosses.
Full transcript