Early in 1908, a young Dorothea Mackellar (1885-1968) sat down to write out the final draft of a poem she had been working on for four years. ‘Core of My Heart’ (later ‘My Country’) would become the poet’s most iconic achievement as a writer, marking a pinnacle in her literary career and creating a lasting landmark in Australia’s literary heritage.
Poetry has played an important part in the founding of literature in Australia, and the works of Dorothea Mackellar are among our nation's most important examples of literary heritage. Already a young woman of some accomplishment when she began to write poetry, Mackellar had long resented the tendency, at this time, for Australians to refer to England as ‘home’. Addressing her most famous poem to English readers, Mackellar’s inspiration for her most iconic verse came directly from her childhood experience of life on the land, and reflected the spirit of ardent nationalism which had ignited with Australian Federation in 1901.
While holidaying as a girl at her family’s property in the Hunter region of New South Wales, Mackellar had witnessed the breaking of a drought. In later life, the poet recalled how, after the rain, the grass began to shoot across the parched, cracked soil of the paddocks and, as she watched from the verandah, the land to the horizon turned green before her eyes.
Mackellar wrote the first draft of ‘Core of My Heart’ (later ‘My Country’), Australia’s best loved and most quoted poem, in England between 1904 and 1908. The only known manuscript version of the poem in its original form was recorded in Mackellar’s notebook, ‘Verses 1907-1908’, prior to its first publication in September 1908.
Regarded by many as Australia’s quintessential poet, Dorothea Mackellar’s most iconic works offer powerful statements of fervent patriotism and connection to the land, captured as Australia was coming of age as a nation and on the brink of participation in global warfare. In the century since its creation, ‘My Country’ has had an almost immeasurable impact on the collective consciousness of Australians, especially within the sphere of literary culture and, for many, remains the ultimate expression of the centrality of the land to Australian identity. A wonderful poet of light and colour, commenting towards the end of her life, Mackellar made her own assessment of the significance of her poetry: ‘I did say more or less what I wanted to say, and that's the satisfaction.'
Show MorePoem Analysis – I am Australian by Bruce Woodley and My Country by Dorothea Mackellar
The two poems that I have chosen to analyse are “I am Australian Written by Bruce Woodley and Dobe Newton and “My country” written by Dorothea Mackellar. Both poems portray the love for the country and the sense of belonging as both of these writers are Australian born bush poets.
The poem “I am Australian” relates to the concept of belonging to and national identity. Repetition of 'I Am Australian' reinforces this, imagery of the environment and creates a link between the nation and the self, and thus the person is intimately connected to the country. The Poem is about celebrating diversity in Australia, between the people and the land.
The…show more content…
In the second poem ‘My Country’, Dorothea Mackellar portrays the beauty of her country; Australia. Dorothea Mackellar uses imagery technique like alliteration, for example, "for flood and fire and famine to characterise rural Australian Life and repetition of words or phrases like "core of my heart, my country!" to show a sense of belonging.
The poem is full of metaphors, for example "an opal-hearted country". Some metaphors include personification. For instance, she uses "her" for nature and regards nature as a mother or woman.
Moreover, this illustrates her love of Australia. Australia is not just a piece of land to this poet; she has a relationship with this land, and that is why she refers to it as if it were a person. In her poem Dorothea personifies Australia.” She portrays Australia as beautiful because of this wildness. This is conveyed in the phrase “my love is otherwise” that concludes the stanza on England, and the phrase “I love a sunburnt country” that introduces the following stanza on Australia. This illustrates her love of Australia. Australia is not just a piece of land to this poet; she has a relationship with this land, and that is why she refers to it as if it were a person.
Dorothea's poem uses language in a way that differs from our ordinary expression whereas Woodley and Newton use free verse and there is chorus. In “I am Australian, there is more focus