Apology for Impatiencefor Gloria.
On first reading, this poem seems quite incomprehensible. Out of context, the poem appears to be about love and relationships.
Apology for Impatience was written in 1963 (wife dead?) and it was written for Gloria, his wife. Dawe rarely uses a first person persona and it is through his use of the first person persona and the fact that it was written for his wife, that leads me to believe that Dawe was not just making a comment on love, but on his love for Gloria.
Dawe, when asked What good, finally, does publishing, going public, do? replied If we are lonely then it will help us recognize that we are not alone in our loneliness. If we are hopeful, or angry, or loving, or sad, then it will help us see these as universal experiences that proclaim us human It is through the context of the relationship Dawe had with Gloria, and this quote that transformed my understanding of his poem Apology for Impatience. Transforming from that of a poem about a relationship, to a poem intended as a farewell (or preventing a farewell) and an expression of the inexpressible lost love.
The poem is free verse. Dawe uses the flow of the stanzas to reflect the recurrent image of growth; this image is reinforced by the metaphors of plants and nature used in the poem. The stanzas seem to be heading nowhere, but they are always moving forward. This reflects the growth of the personas character and the growth of the love throughout the poem.
Beans, beans are climbing, climbing is a metaphor for his love and for the development of his character. Incomplete, not having reached their full potential but ever growing.
Lying hunched in darkness represents the lack of direction and loss of hope, it is a critical point in the relationship, he is fearful of an end to the relationship. It shows how lonely he is in this time of uncertainty. Dawe may be reflecting on his past, or he may visualize the future as bleak should the relationship take a turn for the worse.
Natures blossoming and sprouting reinforces love throughout the poem. The beauty of nature is a reflection on his marriage to Gloria and the beauty she has held throughout her lifetime. Even waking suggests the eternal nature of her beauty and his love for her.
A rainbow is symbolic of a promise; Dawe is making a biblical allusion where God gave man the rainbow as a promise that he would never flood the world again. The rainbow in the poem appears where the persona (Dawe) is away from her (Gloria), at the office or in the garden. This rainbow is a symbol of a promise that the times Lying hunched in darkness are over. It could also represent the promise of marriage.
Life, life cries my blood here Dawe is expressing how he would not have life without her. He is longing for her. The sound of my thirty-three years to hear his years, shows the reader that the events described are in the past and that the poem is a reflection.
Drumming links back to the impatience described in the title, his emotion are like a monsoon flooding, the reader questions whether his monsoon of emotion has come too late for Gloria.
There are many images in the poem of Blossoming, sprouting, climbing and growing but there are none that represent contentment, maturity or a sense of finality, the poem itself ends before it is completed. The last two lines of the poem come the closest to expressing his love for her, but whatever has happened to her has caused the growth of: the poem, his character and his love to end before they had reached maturity.
It is through the experiences of the persona, and the context of Dawes life. That transforms my belief from, the poem is just about love, to, the poem is about lost love, loneliness, dashed hopes and living each day so that there will be nothing to apologize for tomorrow.