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Wild Lemons by David Malouf summary


  1. Read the poem
  2. About the poet
  3. Summary

About the poet– David Malouf is an Australian poet, novelist, short story writer, playwright and librettist. Though he would later become known abroad for his prose works, Malouf initially concentrated on poetry. His poetry collection Revolving Days: Selected Poems (2008), is divided into four sections: on childhood, then Europe, then relocating to Sydney, then travelling between Europe and Australia. He has been mentioned as a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

The poem ‘Wild Lemons’ is the poet’s recollection of the memories from his past. The poet lived in the island country of Australia before moving to the United Kingdom. In this poem he discusses about one of his experiences from Australia that still revolves around his mind.

In the beginning of the poem, the poet refers to his past and his present. He describes about an experience when he was travelling with his friends in Australia. He was on a road which would lead nowhere, but keep him there being surrounded by wild lemons. However, the poet says that it was this road that would rescue them out of the place. Then he goes on to describe the wild lemon trees. The fruit was covered with tough skin, which was harder than the regular lemons, while its branches were covered with thorns. The poet says that since wild lemon trees are growing amidst such a deserted road, there must be someone who planted these. The sunlight helps the lemons grow which would be later used to make drinks. The poet then talks about the island, where the lemon tree was located. It was a warm weather, where the poet and his friends were humming in the midnight. They were quite worried about finding their way back home, and hence taking deep breathes while discussing their plans in the midnight. The sea waves constantly hitting the shore is also mentioned by the poet.

The poet next refers to his present, by asserting that the present stays with us forever. In the present scenario, the poet and his friends are gathered together, sipping alcohol, while it is seven o’ clock in the evening. During this time of the dark evening, the surrounding is prevailed by complete silence. The poet makes use of simile here, where he compares the silence to a flute tempting the stars to walk over the water. The poet is currently in United Kingdom, in a completely different weather than his homeland in Australia. Even though the surroundings differ, the poet’s body & mind remains the same to that of his year old experience amongst the wild lemons. The poet then implies that sleep continues until darkness prevails. However, time keeps moving, and doesn’t wait for someone to wake up from their sleep. When he wakes up in the morning, time has passed by and the clouds have melted, while he experiences the smell of wild lemons in the air. Even though the poet is currently in Europe, the smell of the wild lemons remain the same to the smell of lemons in Australia. Thus, the poet asserts to us that the smell of wild lemons stayed forever with him, even though he moved to a completely different region of the earth.

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