Harwood's work has always managed universal charm in its capacity to articulate the indescribable in her interacting with styles that are intrinsically relevant to human experiences. As Strauss explains, Harwood effectively 'performs with dualistic restrictions, whether they be boundaries between life and loss of life, present and past' as a way to articulate her ruminations and this is reflective in a lot of her poems.
'Father and Child' delves into the loss of youth innocence and consequential lessons on life and loss of life pursuing her confronting come across.
In 'Barn Owl', the persona comes to learn after firing the first shot of her father's gun that death can be an 'obscene buddle of stuff that decreased, and dribbled through loose straw tangling in bowels'. The violent, visual imagery evoke feelings of repugnance which highlights the grotesque characteristics of fatality, being that of long term pain and anguish. Thus the kid articulates a deepened knowledge of the vulnerability of life, the finality of fatality, and the sorrow in removing a life. This horrific notion is contrasted to Nightfall which portrays death as an all natural, inevitable outcome that may be peaceful. This diptych structure provides didactic lessons as noted by Hoddinott who praises Harwood's "ability to interweave previous and present as one of her most dazzling gifts". In Nightfall, the poet is no longer a kid, but has matured and engendered an popularity of death as part of the pattern of life through the Christian allusion to heaven 'times promised land'. The metaphor 'since there is no more to taste, ripeness is plainly all, dad we choose our last fruits of the temporal' recounts the father's fufilled life and implies that the power of death is superseded by the eternal aspect of their memories. The intertextual allusion to King Lear 'Old Ruler, your marvellous journeys done' heightens the responder's knowing of the persona's increasing self-knowledge about fatality, the complexities of life and the subleties of her relationship with her father, seen in the juxtaposition of 'Old King' with 'old No-Sayer'. Although Harwood acknowledges the enduring losses of fatality and the sorrow of change, she also identifies that regardless of all of this, 'things truly known as can't ever vanish from earth'. She articulates that thoughts will surpass the grief and suffering of the fathers' death as the persona learns to accept the uncertainty of life.
Harwood extends upon this exploration of death as an 'obscene' experience, by discovering how fatality is abstract and unwanted yet inevitable inside the Sharpness of Fatality.
The repetition of 'obscene' gives her poems coherance as a body of work in her analysis of loss of life. She continues by exploring the intellectual aspects of death as she makes referrals to philosopher's suc h as Heidegger to dismiss their theories on life and death as overly intricate and meaningless. This is reinforced through her exclamatory repetition of 'untranslatable as ever!' accompanied by a scornful shade which underlines her disdain and frustration over the defects in their logical philosophical musings over such mystique experience. On top of that, Harwood articulates the transience of life in the ultimate two lines of 'Nasturtiums', illustrating the continual cycle of your energy as the light is gone but still organised within the 'seeds of seeds'. That is an image of continual rebirth of innocence and creativity as life moves on and it is this peaceful even tone that displays Harwood's understanding of life's changes and eventual end. Her acceptance is reflective in her last bargain, showed through her defiant, imperative tone and direct address; 'Death I will let you know nowif I fall from that point, then set your teeth in me'. Here, the fierce personification of death shown through its capitalisation accentuates its prevailing power and inexorability. By doing so, she justifies that keen experiences and fulfilling relationships are key because of death's unavoidable arrival. The unity of the poemy sometimes appears in the cyclic framework as the ultimate part closes the opening deal. Because of this, we come to agree with Strauss in descirbing Harwood as a 'new and distinctive speech' as the Sharpness of Loss of life effectively delves into the complexities of fatality in taking us through fearing death to recognizing it as both mystical and inevitable. Accordingly, we acknowledge that it is through an individual joyous affirmation of life that fatality is defeated.
Likewise At Mornington also explores the universality of human experience through observations of the ephemeral passing of time and the temporal nature of human living.
Transpiring is the heightened awareness of the worthiness of shared and meaningful human experiences and a company approval of the certainty of mortality. An extended metaphor amplifies this idea that life is full of opportunity for delight and reinvention, 'we have 1 day only one/but plenty of to renew us'. Like the persona's realisation in 'Nightfall' that thoughts trascend one's death, the recollections of the poem underline that of life portions to, 'dreams, pain, recollections, love and grief' and thus life's transience is supported through expressions of love and companionship. Harwood refers to the pumpkin vine as a 'parable' of herself; the lesson intrinsic in each of her musings is that although loss of life is inevitable and permanent, there exists some consolation in a life of virtue and fulfilment. The poem's sense of unity is mirrored in its cyclical character, beginning and stopping with the motif of normal water, symbolic of the move of water and memory, in addition to the recurring 'rolling' action. Her first reference point in the simile 'rolled such as a doll' portrays her child years innocence in her belief of invincibility, believing that she 'could walk on water'. Towards the final outcome, water becomes a metaphor for death 'when I am seized at last and rolled in a single grinding competition' recommending her acknowledgement of fatalities' electricity and her own mortality. The reflective, reverent firmness indicates her approval of loss of life, captured in the simile, 'like light on the face of waters that bear me away forever', depicting death as peaceful and serene. As Hoddinott remarks, this poem eloquently 'traces the deficits occasioned by time against the power of memory space to keep alive the illumination of moments that renew the world'. Consequently, as responders we also come to simply accept the inexorableness of fatality and appreciate the value of storage to sustain life's richness.
Harwoods' exploration on the significant ideas of death is apparent throughout many of her works which is through her research upon this universally complex human being experience, does indeed she create worldwide charm.