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Wild Lemons Questions and Answers Marks 15,10,5,2

Wild Lemons Questions and Answers

 

MARKS-15

1. The Theme[Wild Lemons Questions and Answers]

[Q. ‘ Metamorphosis is a recurrent theme in Malouf’s writing, where newpossibilities can be hedged in the mundane. As the closing lines of ‘Wild Lemons’ suggest’. Comment with reference to the poem ‘Wild Lemons’.

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Or,

Q. Is nature the ‘other’ in this poem, is the topography of the island continent amenable to human comprehension or does it remain a challenge? How is the terrestrial body visualised in the poem? Discuss the themes in the poem.]

The poem in a typical Maloufian manner has a graceful lightness of tone. As personal memory is vital to Revolving Days’, ‘Wild Lemons’ grows out of a collective consciousness, you can also say collective memory. Therefore there is a greater connotative embeddedness in this poem.

The poem “Wild Lemons” by David Malouf gives a nostalgic account of what it feels like to be away from home. In the case of the author, and perhaps the poem’s speaker, home is Australia. The central thought, then, is that memories can help home follow you wherever you may go.

The poem’s speaker starts by explaining in lines 7 and 8 how he and somebody else were “expected at an occasion up ahead that would not take place without

[them].” This implies that the speaker is traveling on some important trip. More evidence that implies this is in lines 24 and 25 when the speaker says, “I lie down / în different weather now though the same body.” Much of what Malouf goes on to provide in the poem are sensory details that seem to remind the speaker of his home. The memories he experienced there are following him to where he is now.

The primary example of this is his experiences with wild lemons, hence the title of the poem. Malouf introduces wild lemons in line 6 when the speaker states that he is “among wild lemons” in whatever foreign location he is in now. He also makes reference to how he doesn’t claim that wild lemons are only symbolic of his home; instead, he observes that wild lemons could also be memories of someone else’s home. He writes that “someone had been there before us and planted these” and that those people had adapted the lemons for use in their own way (lines 10-13).

Malouf concludes the poem with the speaker saying, “What goes is time, and clouds melting into / tomorrow of our breath, a scent of lemons / run wild in another country, but smelling always of themselves” (lines 30-32). This indicates that although the speaker may be far away from home, the scent of lemons remains the same. This is refreshing for the speaker because it floods him with memories and allows home to be with him, even though he is far away.

A central aspect of Malouf is his avoidance of obvious reference to identity politics though they are not absent but require careful study to uncover it. While Malouf objects to his work being seen as in anyway representative of gay identity (as a reflection of Malouf’s own sexual orientation), several of his poems including Revolving Days and Wild Lemons can be read in relation to sexual politics and a discourse of body that is present these poems.

‘Metamorphosis’ is a recurrent theme in Malouf’s writing, where new possibilities can be hedged in the mundane, as the closing lines of ‘Wild Lemons’ suggest. David Malcuf’s words on the Influence of the Landscape in shaping the psyche of the people and their history, nature as it embodies itself, in a particular place, as land, landscape, weather, space, light, and which not only forms a background to the dramas and occasions we call history but also significantly shapes them, and shapes as well the psyche of those who live with the opportunities and limitations they present.

‘Transcendence’, is another constitutive idea in Malouf’s work. Like the notion of ‘metamorphosis’ which is a cognitive process of internalizing the landscape through experience, thought and sensory perception (to paraphrase further, metamorphosis is expressed in the poem as the merger of the human body in the body of the landscape). The journey- – ‘that starting out among blazed trunks’ and – – – ‘ I lie down/ in different weather though the same body’, at both the individual level, as well as that of the subsuming collective consciousness, is a transformative experience.

This transformation leads to transcendence’, of experiential and imaginative limitations. ‘Dreaming’ is a term borrowed from the Aborigines, to describe the harmonious integration in their natural universe. Malouf strives for this integration of the interior and exterior worlds, Inhabiting a land, as settlers and latecomers’, requires the reciprocity of possession and belonging, interiorising and reimagining it as native people have done. This makes Writing as ‘public dreaming’ for Malouf. The reshaping of experience in the creativity of the writer’s craft is a form of ‘making’, – – ‘what we are seeking when we set out there in the world some artefact’.

2. The Significance of the Title

[Q. What is the meaning of the title ‘Wild Lemons’? Justify the significance.]

The lemons were there because others were there before who planted them. Perhaps it is a spot where secret communions were held, a place where they would communicate while sitting among the thorny wild lemons trees tasting “the toughskinned fruit”.

Perhaps it is a place of burial where “our bodies were expected at an occasion”. This suggests a communion with Nature while the existence of the lemon tree is a proof that perhaps our ancestors were there much before and planted the lemon tree. The resilience of Nature is brought out succinctly by the use of the word “tough -skinned fruit”. In line eleven the fruit is called “sunlight to be sliced” for drinks. It has rich associations as the round yellow-coloured fruit rich in vitamin C is as healthy as sunlight promoting vitamin D. These wild lemons have adapted themselves to various climes and times and have survived through the ages.

From line thirteen onwards the poet’s thoughts travel towards his beloved country Australia, surrounded by the waters of the ocean. Sitting still at its bay the poet describes its warmth as if it were a living, breathing entity “humming and rising” to the concerns of its country people. It is heatstruck yet “lapped by clean ocean waters/ at dawn”. The poet proceeds to contrast the present with the sunny warmth of the past that he has imaginatively evoked.

He is now in another European country with a different weather, different climate. Yet in the alien land Nature continues to his senses. There “a flute tempts out a few/ reluctant stars to walk over the water.” The same body that had enjoyed sliced sunlight in Australia is now in a European country. There too Nature continues to delight the senses and the lemon gin satisfies the buds of this transcultural poet.

It is important to emphasise the use of a bodily consciousness: the land or geography is experienced bodily, as the embodied experience of a place shapes the place or how a place or landscape is set up or imagined and felt. The body takes in/ absorbs the landscape(“clouds melting into the tomorrow of our breath, a scent of lemons” or the “warmth of our island sitting still…lapped by ocean waters”). Set

down among wild lemons, bodies were expected “ahead” and “at an occasion” (the future) which would not happen without them because there were those who came before and had planted those lemons. Perhaps it means that those who were set down among the lemons (planted by the natives)- the settler community now has to participate in the shaping of the country’s future.

The lemons too are now adapting to their own ends and in an island set to its own rhythm (“sitting still…humming and rising…but back”). The present too is always transforming, unlocking unknown futures. No destined end (“Though to what out there…”) and as evening comes and starlings gather the silence is broken by a flute that makes stars move over water. In spite of the transformations, the poet speaker lies on the same track, the same body in a similar repeated pattern of day and night (sleep). The “body tags along with what we may ask” The self/other selves/bodies? And “as promised” resonates with the promise in line four.

In Wild Lemons, the body is metaphorized as the wild smelling lemons negotiating a track (“rough track”) across “blazed trunks’ and nurtured by the warmth of an island. The “path” which was set down as a “promise”(perhaps by the poet speaker to his partner) into the present. But what that might be (the present is always open) and to what end is unknown or not fixed. Only a mystical vision of “reluctant stars” moving over water is offered. Perhaps this is a reference to the uncertainty or apprehension that is present in the context of homosexual desire. The poet speaker is on the same track in a different season with the same body. The body “tags along” (wild mind/self/other) as night gives way to day to see what transpires. What goes on is time and tomorrow’s breath carrying the scent of lemons that” run wild” in another country but still “smelling of themselves”. The integrity of the body remains. The promise may continue into the present or the

present may always be open to transformations or possibilities but what is certain is the connection we have with our body: the body which will always smell of itself.

The conclusion of the poem is thus the smell of the wild lemons from the poet’s native country that always stays with him even when he is in another country. Therefore, the central motif of the poem is ‘wild lemons’ that bears much significance as the title.

3. The Structure

[Q. What is the treatment of time in the poem, is the recurrence of the phrase, ‘present is open to ‘associated with hope’? Does the present incorporate the past? How do images of Day and Night contribute to the meaning of the poem beyond the diurnal cycle?

Or, Q. Comment on the structure of the poem ‘Wild Lemons’] Starting with a basic paraphrase the opening lines introduce the idea of time, and time as “continuous present”. The lines –

Through all those years keeping the present Open to light of just this moment

suggest the past as inside the present and vice versa. The tense in these lines is cryptic or ambiguous. The present always opens through those years as the path that was found signaled or held a promise of a moment into the future at a place “that would not take place without us”. The time flow is fused with geographic imaginary, the track (the promise) starting across “blazed trunks”( to burn with flames, very bright) to be “set down among wild lemons”. In the rugged terrain the tree trunks weathered by years of intense sunlight and heat held a promise of a bright future, a happy destination. The track obviously leads to the place where the wild lemons grow. And the use of negatives to suggest positive- “the track would not lead nowhere”- is a remarkable linguistic audacity.

Yet was the trajectory already mapped out? The lemons were there because others were there before who planted them. Perhaps it is a spot where secret communions were held, a place where they would communicate while sitting among the thorny wild lemons trees tasting “the tough-skinned fruit”.

Perhaps it is a place of burial where “our bodies were expected at an occasion”. This suggests a communion with Nature while the existence of the lemon tree is a proof that perhaps our ancestors were there much before and planted the lemon tree. The resilience of Nature is brought out succinctly by the use of the word “tough -skinned fruit”. In line eleven the fruit is called “sunlight to be sliced” for drinks. It has rich associations as the round yellow-coloured fruit rich in vitamin C is as healthy as sunlight promoting vitamin D. These wild lemons have adapted themselves to various climes and times and have survived through the ages.

From line thirteen onwards the poet’s thoughts travel towards his beloved country Australia, surrounded by the waters of the ocean. Sitting still at its bay the poet describes its warmth as if it were a living, breathing entity “humming and rising” to the concerns of its country people. It is heatstruck yet “lapped by clean ocean waters/ at dawn”.

The poet proceeds to contrast the present with the sunny warmth of the past that he has imaginatively evoked. He is now in another European country with a different weather, different clime. Yet in the alien land Nature continues to his senses. There “a flute tempts out a few/ reluctant stars to walk over the water.” The same body that had enjoyed sliced sunlight in Australia is now in a European country. There too Nature continues to delight the senses and the lemon gin satisfies the buds of this transcultural poet.

The pronouns used “us”, “we”, “our” (“bodies”) are tied to a geography or geographic imagination in a logic of complementarity, for example in the lines…” our bodies were expected at an occasion up ahead that would not take place without us”. It is important to emphasise the use of a bodily consciousness: the land or geography is

experienced bodily, as the embodied experience of a place shapes the place or how a place or landscape is set up or imagined and felt. The body takes in/ absorbs the landscape(“clouds melting into the tomorrow of our breath, a scent of lemons” or the “warmth of our island sitting still…lapped by ocean waters”). Set down among wild lemons, bodies were expected “ahead” and “at an occasion” (the future) which would not happen without them because there were those who came before and had planted those lemons. Perhaps it means that those who were set down among the lemons (planted by the natives)- the settler community now has to participate in the shaping of the country’s future.

The lemons too are now adapting to their own ends and in an island set to its own rhythm (“sitting still…humming and rising…but back”). The present too is always transforming, unlocking unknown futures. No destined end (“Though to what out there…”) and as evening comes and starlings gather the silence is broken by a flute that makes stars move over water. In spite of the transformations, the poet speaker lies on the same track, the same body in a similar repeated pattern of day and night (sleep). The “body tags along with what we may ask” The self/other selves/bodies? And as promised” resonates with the promise in line four.

Malouf emphasizes that our sleep is continuously in the dark and what goes on is Time. The passage of Time is unstoppable as it moves into the present and melts into the future. Thus what changes or is constant is time. The Maloufian notion of time is ‘continuous present’: their breaths of tomorrow carrying the “scent of lemons” but who are now thriving (“run wild”) in another country, and yet not lost their identity/character, “smelling always of themselves”. The reference here is to movement/ migration which is the defining energy of Australia. Earlier in the poem the lemons were suggested to have adapted to other ends, and perhaps they are replanted now (in the concluding line) holding on still to their character/integrity and perhaps reconciled with the settlers who have absorbed their scent in what may appear like a utopian imagination of different cultural universes intersecting in Australia: “the present is always with us, always open”.

The poem ‘Wild Lemons’has no specific rhyme-scheme nor it is divided in stanzas. The poem is written in free verse and with a specific motif of wild lemons. The title is also straightforward and apt.

4. The Role of Memory – The Voice of the Migrants [Q. Reading the poem, how would you characterize these migrations? Exile, displacements, or an eventual homecoming?]

David Malouf began life in Brisbane in 1934. It was not long before World War 2 was about to happen. When it did, it brought-for smali boys especially-a sense of excitement with the Japanese threatening from the north, American troops and planes arriving en masse and something called ‘the Brisbane line,’ that line drawn

from east to west across Australia in Queensland, north of which there was to be no defending the country. Or so the story goes.

Malouf can still resurrect stories of his school days in these colourful terms. He belonged, or part of him belongs, to this provincial part of the old British Empire. It spices up many of his best stories and poems. A certain comic brio is close at hand in his recollections. But more importantly he was to find in his Brisbane world much that was valuable, at least in the sense that the memory of it was. The ending of the war and Australia’s steady recovery in the 1950s saw a nation on the cusp of change, and Malouf’s became one voice to express it well.

Much could be said of Queensland in the mid-twentieth century leading, so to speak, from behind-at least in poetry. The young Judith Wright, Gwen Harwood, Clem Christensen (future editor of Meanjin), John Blight (a mentor for Malouf), David Rowbotham and the philosopher Val Vallis had been carrying the torch for poetry across difficult decades. Peter Porter, a future star of the international poetry scene, would leave Brisbane for London in the 1950s not long before Malouf himself would go overseas.

It was nonetheless a circle of younger Queensland poets in Four Poets (Cheshire, 1962) who were to announce a new presence in Australian poetry. Alongside Interiors, Malouf’s contribution, there was work by Don Maynard (now an ABC FM voice often heard), Judith Green (Rodriguez) a close colleague and a sometimes Malouf ‘muse,’ and Rodney Hall, an English émigré with talent and ambition. It was, however, for them a time for moving out, and the group went different ways. In the 1970s Brisbane recovered with figures such as Thomas Shapcott, Roger McDonald, Rhyll McMaster and above all the University of Queensland Press taking a lead.

For someone whose writing had been razor sharp and dramatic, the poetry of Malouf in the mid to late 1970s began to take on a discursiveness and an abstractness. In Poems 1975-1976 (1976), Wild Lemons (1980) and First Things Last (1980) and from The Little PanopticoninSelected Poems (1981) the essayist voice comes to the fore. A surprise in the midst of the doldrums of the late 70s and early 80s is Malouf’s The Little Panopticon. Using Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon as a metaphor-a ‘proposed form of prison of circular shape having cells built round and fully exposed towards a central “well”, whence the warder could at all times observe the prisoner’–for an overview of Western culture, this proved a witty and ironic way for Malouf to show and explore his encyclopaedic reading.

The attitude intuits a ‘path’ like the one in ‘Wild Lemons’ (Poems 1959-89169): ‘you might call it / a promise, that starting out among blazed trunks / the track would not lead nowhere’, rather, ‘our bodies were / expected at an occasion up ahead / that would not take place without us’.

A great advocate of ‘here’, in the widest sense, Malouf continually invites discourse, – or perhaps especially – around complicated and nebulous concepts such as even

transcendence. While the difficulty of his poems often arises from their commitment to precision among abstract and metaphysical demands, it is a tension that provides a space for his critical engagement with the word.

Transcendence in Malouf’s writing is acknowledged as a necessary condition of the present and our body as, for Levinas, ‘the metaphysical is not a realm on its own, hovering above reality somehow’, but rather, the ‘relation to the other is the depth dimension and the spirit that blows through ontology’.

Images of transcendence are crystallisations of an ethics in which the self and the other are variously and inextricably bound; his habitual ‘we’ in the poetry attests to his attitude that the self exists only in continuity, in community.

The motif of the journey is central to the poem, the ‘we’ in the third line is the articulation of collective memory. It is the voice of migrants to Australia, and the temporal specificities of these multiple journeys are fused in this poem, because it is an imaginatively telescoped history of the settler colonies, coming together to form a nation.

In this sense, the poem is constitutive of the ‘national, imaginary’. The dedication to Don Dunstan, the 35th charismatic premier of South Australia, ‘locates the poem within the context of nation building and pioneering change despite hardship’.

Malouf strives for this integration of the interior and exterior worlds, Inhabiting a land, ‘as settlers and latecomers’, requires the reciprocity of possession and belonging interiorising and reimagining it as native people have done. I

5. Symbolism 

[Q. What are the images through which the poem develops? What do the wild lemons symbolize?

Or, Q. How is nature represented in the poem? Locate lines and images that convey the sense of the mysterious in nature. Does it tell you something about the relationship between man and nature in the context of Australia, as distinct from the old world; European attitude of conquest and domination of natural spaces?]

the In ‘Wild Lemons’, the body is metaphorized as the wild smelling lemons negotiating a track (“rough track”) across “blazed trunks” and nurtured by the warmth of an island. The “path” which was set down as a “promise”(perhaps by the poet speaker to his partner) into the present. But what that might be (the present is always open) and to what end is unknown or not fixed. Only a mystical vision of “reluctant stars” moving over water is offered. Perhaps this is a reference to the uncertainty or apprehension that is present in the context of homosexual desire.

The poet speaker is on the same track in a different season with the same body. The body “tags along” (wild mind/self/other) as night gives way to day to see what

transpires. What goes on is time and tomorrow’s breath carrying the scent of lemons that” run wild” in another country but still “smelling of themselves”. The integrity of the body remains. The promise may continue into the present or the present may always be open to transformations or possibilities but what is certain is the connection we have with our body: the body which will always smell of itself.

‘The Wild Lemons’, speaks of ‘a scent of lemons/ run wild in another country, but smelling always of themselves… their sunlight … sliced/ for drinks’,

and evokes evenings when

a flute tempts out a few

reluctant stars to walk over the water

and a famous beard, benignly condescending, looks on.

The primacy of the human body’ in its desiring subjectivity, is foregrounded in Malouf’s poetry. According to Don Randall, ‘Malouf strives, seemingly whenever possible, to encounter his world as a complete sensuous body. The senses that actually contact and interact with the substances of the world are brought into play; things touched, tasted, or smelled often contribute indissociably to the composition of place. The idea is developed into ‘metamorphosing of the body and leads by extension, to an ‘erotics of place’.

6. Critical Estimate

[Q. Critically appreciate David Malouf’s poem “Wild Lemons.”]

Critical appreciation for David Malouf’s “Wild Lemons” may include talking about how the lack of stanzas and the plethora of enjambments link to the poem’s ideas about bodies and motion. There’s a lot of ways to show off a critical appreciation for David Malouf’s pulsating poem. We can also talk about what the final lines might mean.

First, let’s talk about the poem as a whole. Let’s start with the form. One thing that we notice is that there’s no stanzas. The whole thing is one stanza. It’s rather crowded and packed, no? How does the cramped, compressed form relate to themes in the poem? We notice that Malouf mentioned the body, or “bodies,” throughout the poem. Judul

In the beginning, he mentions how their “bodies were / expected at an occasion up ahead / that would not take place without us.” In the middle, he talks about how he lies down “in different weather now though the same body.” Then, in the end, he mentions the body again.

The body is a unified structure. There are no breaks in our body and there are no breaks in this poem. The poem might also resemble a lemon. A lemon, too, is a complete and unified thing. It’s a singular object, like the poem.

We also noticed how often Malouf employs enjambment. Very few lines end in a punctuation mark. Instead, most lines end in the middle of a sentence. It’s like you’re reading a sentence and then all of a sudden you fall down to the next line. We wonder how Malouf’s topsy-turvy enjambments connect to the furious and fast-pace spirit of the poem.

As for the ending, what could Malouf be trying to say about change and evanescence? It’s kind of sad and melancholy. The lines “clouds melting into / tomorrow of our breath” seem like a kind of death. Something is “melting” or going away. Maybe it’s not death like total death, but something is probably disappearing and undergoing a change.

In the final lines, Malouf says: “a scent of lemons / run wild in another country, but smelling always of / themselves.” No matter where we (if we are like lemons) run off to, no matter where our adventures take us, there will always be some fundamental part that is unchangeable and constant. It’s kind of nice to think that no matter what we endure, no matter who we lose or melt, there’s a part of us that’s indestructible; there’s a scent that can’t be erased.

The poem was first published in 1980 in a volume by the same name and later again in the volume Poems 1959-1989. The motif of the journey is central to the poem, the ‘we’ in the third line is the articulation of collective memory. It is the voice of migrants to Australia, and the temporal specificities of these multiple journeys are fused this poem, because it is an imaginatively telescoped history of the settler colonies, coming together to form a nation.

In this sense, the poem is constitutive of the national imaginary’. The dedication to Don Dunstan, the 35th charismatic premier of South Australia, “locates the poem within the context of nation building and pioneering change despite hardship’.

                                                                 MARKS-5

1. Explain : “Through all those years keeping the present / Open to light of just this moment.”

Starting with a basic paraphrase the opening lines of the poem ‘Wild Lemons’ introduce the idea of time, and time as “continuous present”. The lines “Through all those years keeping the present / Open to light of just this moment” suggest the past as inside the present and vice versa. The tense in these lines is cryptic or ambiguous.

The present always opens through those years as the path that was found signaled or held a promise of a moment into the future at a place “that would not take place without us”. The time flow is fused with geographic imaginary, the track

(the promise) starting across “blazed trunks”( to burn with flames, very bright) to be “set down among wild lemons”. In the rugged terrain the tree trunks weathered by years of intense sunlight and heat held a promise of a bright future, a happy destination. The track obviously leads to the place where the wild lemons grow. And the use of negatives to suggest a positive- “the track would not lead nowhere”- is a remarkable linguistic audacity.

2. Why were the lemons there?

The lemons were there because others were there before who planted them. Perhaps it is a spot where secret communions were held, a place where they would communicate while sitting among the thorny wild lemons trees tasting “the toughskinned fruit”.

Perhaps it is a place of burial where “our bodies were expected at an occasion”. This suggests a communion with Nature while the existence of the lemon tree is a proof that perhaps our ancestors were there much before and planted the lemon tree. The resilience of Nature is brought out succinctly by the use of the word “tough -skinned fruit”. In line eleven the fruit is called “sunlight to be sliced” for drinks. It has rich associations as the round yellow-coloured fruit rich in vitamin C is as healthy as sunlight promoting vitamin D. These wild lemons have adapted themselves to various climes and times and have survived through the ages.

3. How does the poem begin?

The poem begins with a path on which the speaker recalls starting out among “blazed trunks” of trees, marked in such a way as to promise that the path must lead somewhere. The speaker and his unnamed companion took the wild lemon trees as a sign that they were expected to participate in some event at the end of the road, one which would not occur without them.

The speaker saw the trees themselves as evidence that someone had been there before them and planted the trees to provide slices of lemon for drinks. The warmth of the island also seemed vaguely promising.

4. How do the poet’s thoughts travel towards his native country?

From line thirteen onwards in David Malouf’s poem ‘Wild Lemons’ the poet’s thoughts travel towards his beloved country Australia, surrounded by the waters of the ocean. Sitting still at its bay the poet describes its warmth as if it were a living, breathing entity “humming and rising” to the concerns of its country people. It is heatstruck yet “lapped by clean ocean waters/ at dawn”.

The poet proceeds to contrast the present with the sunny warmth of the past that he has imaginatively evoked. He is now in another European country with a different weather, different climate. Yet in the alien land Nature continues to his senses. There “a flute tempts out a few/ reluctant stars to walk over the water.” The same body that had enjoyed sliced sunlight in Australia is now in a European country. There too

Nature continues to delight the senses and the lemon gin satisfies the buds of this transcultural poet.

5. How are pronouns used in the poem ‘Wild Lemons? Analyze.

The pronouns used in ‘Wild Lemons’ are “us”, “we”, “our” (“bodies”) that are ti to a geography or geographic imagination in a logic of complementarity, for example in the lines…”our bodies were expected at an occasion up ahead that would not take place without us”. It is important to emphasise the use of a bodily consciousness: the land or geography is experienced bodily, as the embodied experience of a place shapes the place or how a place or landscape is set up or imagined and felt. Efte tieg

The body takes in/ absorbs the landscape(“clouds melting into the tomorrow of our breath, a scent of lemons” or the “warmth of our island sitting still…lapped by ocean waters”). Set down among wild lemons, bodies were expected “ahead” and “at an occasion” (the future) which would not happen without them because therefT were those who came before and had planted those lemons. Perhaps it means that those who were set down among the lemons (planted by the natives)- the settler community now has to participate in the shaping of the country’s future.

6. Mention the ways the scent of the lemons adapted to their own ends.

The lemons too are now adapting to their own ends and in an island set to its own rhythm (“sitting still…humming and rising…but back”). The present too is always transforming, unlocking unknown futures. No destined end (“Though to what out there…”) and as evening comes and starlings gather the silence is broken by a flute that makes stars move over water. In spite of the transformations, the poet speaker lies on the same track, the same body in a similar repeated pattern of day and night (sleep). The “body tags along with what we may ask” The self/other selves/bodies? And “as promised” resonates with the promise in line four. 

Through all those years keeping the present open to the light of just this moment: that was the path we found, you might call it a promise, that starting out among blazed trunks the track would not lead nowhere, that being set down here among wild lemons, our bodies were expected at an occasion up ahead that would not take place without us. 

7. In terms of space, how does the human body respond to the landscape?

The primacy of the human body’ in its desiring subjectivity, is foregrounded in Malouf’s poetry. Can we transpose the erotic in relation to the landscape as the ‘other’? According to Don Randall, ‘Malouf strives, seemingly whenever possible, to encounter his world as a complete sensuous body. ‘The senses that actually contact and interact with the substances of the world are brought into play; things –touched, tasted, or smelled often contribute indissociably to the composition of place. The idea is developed into ‘metamorphosing of the body — and leads by extension, to an ‘erotics of place’.

8. What does sleep denote in the poem?

Malouf emphasizes that our sleep is continuously in the dark and what goes on is Time. The passage of Time is unstoppable as it moves into the present and melts into the future. Thus what changes or is constant is time. The Maloufian notion of time is ‘continuous present’: their breaths of tomorrow carrying the “scent of lemons” but who are now thriving (“run wild”) in another country, and yet not lost their identity/character, “smelling always of themselves”. The reference here is to movement/ migration which is the defining energy of Australia. Earlier in the poem the lemons were suggested to have adapted to other ends, and perhaps they are replanted now (in the concluding line) holding on still to their character/integrity and perhaps reconciled with the settlers who have absorbed their scent in what may appear like a utopian imagination of different cultural universes intersecting in Australia: “the present is always with us, always open”.

9. In what way is the body of the islanders metaphorized as the smell of wild lemons?

In Wild Lemons, the body is metaphorized as the wild smelling lemons (this is a reading available in Ashley Tellis’s piece too) negotiating a track (“rough track”) across “blazed trunks’ ` and nurtured by the warmth of an island. The “path” which was set down as a “promise”(perhaps by the poet speaker to his partner) into the present. But what that might be (the present is always open) and to what end is unknown or not fixed. Only a mystical vision of “reluctant stars” moving over water is offered. Perhaps this is a reference to the uncertainty or apprehension that is present in the context of homosexual desire.

The poet speaker is on the same track in a different season with the same body. The body “tags along” (wild mind/self/other) as night gives way to day to see what transpires. What goes on is time and tomorrow’s breath carrying the scent of lemons that” run wild” in another country but still “smelling of themselves”. The integrity of the body remains. The promise may continue into the present or the present may always be open to transformations or possibilities but what is certain is the connection we have with our body: the body which will always smell of itself.

10. Is the Maloufian notion of the ‘edge’, incorporated in the metaphor of the journey in this poem? How does the ‘edge’ become a liminal space of possibility in the poem?

The speaker saw the trees themselves as evidence that someone had been there before them and planted the trees to provide slices of lemon for drinks. The warmth of the island also seemed vaguely promising. All possibilities were open, but as they made their way down the track at seven o’clock in the evening, they had no idea what

awaited them. This was a compact that had been made out of silence, which meant that it could never be explicit or clear.

Now, the speaker lies down in a different climate, though he is the same man with the same body. This is where the track has led him. When it is dark, he sleeps, saying that his body tags along with his dreams “to see what goes.” What goes, the speaker says in a final image, is time, as clouds melt into the next day’s breath, and the distinctive scent of lemons persists.

SHORT TYPE QUESTIONS-2

1. When and where was the poem published first?

The poem was first published in 1980 in a volume by the same name and later again in the volume Poems 1959-1989.

 

2. What does the poem describe?

“Wild Lemons” describes a path on an island, which seemed to show signs of habitation and other vague but promising indications that it was worth taking. The poet does not specify what was at the end of the path, but it has led him to where he is now. In a final image, his dreams include the scent of the wild lemons on the island.

3. What is the central motif in the poem?

The motif of the journey is central to the poem, the ‘we’ in the third line is the articulation of collective memory.

4. ‘That was the path we found’ – What is the significance?

The poem begins with a path on which the speaker recalls starting out among “blazed trunks” of trees, marked in such a way as to promise that the path must lead somewhere.

5. What is the central thought of the poem ‘Wild Lemons?

The central thought of “Wild Lemons” by David Malouf has to do with nostalgia and how memories can help home follow you wherever you may go.

6. What do the wild lemons signify?

The speaker and his unnamed companion took the wild lemon trees as a sign that they were expected to participate in some event at the end of the road, one which would not occur without them.

7. What does the poet speak about ‘a scent of lemons’?

In ‘Wild Lemons’, the poet speaks of ‘a scent of lemons/ run wild in another country, but smelling always of themselves … their sunlight … sliced/ for drinks’.

8. “Though to what, out there in the dark we are making for as seven o’clock” – Who are ‘we’?

It is the voice of migrants to Australia, and the temporal specificities of these multiple journeys are fused in this poem, because it is an imaginatively telescoped history of the settler colonies, coming together to form a nation.

9. Who and why planted the trees?

The speaker saw the trees of those wild lemons themselves as evidence that someone had been there before them and planted the trees to provide slices of lemon for drinks.

10. How does Malouf transport his readers to the wild lemons?

It is to this point that Malouf’s angel-ness transports us, perhaps, to where, as he says in ‘Wild lemons’: ‘our bodies were / expected at an occasion up ahead / that would not take place without us’.

11. What is the idea of language in the poem?

The language that places us, as we are now, in the same country with our memories is a communiqué with ourselves past.

12. “another was the warmth of our island” – Bring out the sense.

The warmth of the island also seemed vaguely promising to them while treading the path.

13. When and what does the scent of lemons evoke?

The scent of lemons evokes evenings when “a flute tempts out a few / reluctant stars to walk over the water / and a famous beard, benignly condescending, / looks on.”

14. What does the ocean water do at dawn?

The ocean water laps the speaker and his companion, who are struck by heat of the scorching sun of the sun throughout the day, after sunset, at dawn.

15. What is the ‘path‘ in this poem?

The attitude intuits a ‘path’ like the one in ‘Wild Lemons’: ‘you might call it / a promise, that starting out among blazed trunks / the track would not lead nowhere’, rather, ‘our bodies were / expected at an occasion up ahead / that would not take place without us’.

16. ‘Always with us, always open’. – What does this suggest?

This suggests that the present is always in the memory of the speaker, always with him.

17. What does the ending signify?

As for the ending, perhaps bring up identity and how some parts of who we are

seem indestructible. Maybe talk about how people can be like lemons. No matter where they go or “run wild,” they will still be “smelling always of themselves.”

18. What does ‘Wild Lemons celebrate? 

Malouf’s poem ‘Wild Lemons’celebrates the urgency of the sensual life where “the present is always / with us, always open”. 

19. Name the poetry collection where the poem was published first.

It was published in Malouf’s poetry collection of the same name Wild Lemons : Poems in 1980. 

20. Why does the speaker say that he is the same body?

Now, the speaker lies down in a different climate, though he is the same body. This is where the track has led him. tuoism esob woH.01

21. What tags the speaker along?

His body tags along the speaker to see what goes on in the track

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