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Katrina Poem - Bruce Dawe

  • Date Submitted: 04/22/2012 05:40 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 67.7 
  • Words: 814
  • Essay Grade: no grades
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By Bruce Dawe
Katrina, now you are suspended between earth and sky.
Tubes feed you glucose intravenously. Naked you lie
In your special room in Ward Fifteen. Is your life
Opening again or closing finally? We do not know, but fear
The telephone call from a nurse whose distant sympathy
Will be the measure of our helplessness. Your twin brother’s
Two-month old vigour hurts us, remembering
Thin straws of sunlight on your bowed legs kicking
In defiance of your sickness, your body's wasting.
Against the black velvet of death threatening
Your life shines like a jewel, each relapse a flash of light
The more endearing. Your mother grieves already, so do I.
Miracles do not tempt us. We are getting in early,
Although we know there is no conditioning process which can counter
The karate-blow when it comes,
No way can we arrange the date-pad to conceal
The page torn-off, crumpled, thrown away.
Katrina, I had in mind a prayer, but only this came,
And you are still naked between earth and sky.
Transfusion-wounds in your heels, your dummy taped in your mouth.

Poem Analysis
My first impression of this poem is that it conveys deep sadness and despair. The tone of this poem is constantly reinforced by the use of pathos, defamiliarisation, symbolism and simile. The poem is about a 2 month old baby who fell ill and is now battling for her life, so obviously the tone of the poem will be sad, despairing, and sympathetic because the reader shows sympathy towards Katrina and her parents. Her parents are struggling as they cannot help her overcome this obstacle in her life.  
‘Katrina’ is dedicated to Dawe’s infant daughter, who contracted gastroenteritis. Katrina, a 2 month old baby was suffering on the family trip to Malaysia. Unfortunately, the whole family contracted gastroenteritis. This poem describes struggles as she battles between life and death and how her family is suffering immense pain as they watch her. The persona of the poem is the...


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