The Harp and the King by Judith Wright

The Harp and the King by Judith Wright 
            Judith Wright was an Australian poet who got the Queen’s Gold medal for poetry in1992. In this poem, she insists on time and its effect. Time is powerful, and it changes everything.
It can even make a king feel lost, depressed, and suffer endless agony. Timelessness is the nature of time. If a man has to undergo timeless suffering, it is terrible. Even sweet music can not give him comfort and hope.   
            There is an old king without a throne. He is filled with despair. There is emptiness in his heart, and he wants to fill it with music. Perhaps this king is reminiscent of king Saul, the first king of Israel, who grieved God to such an extent that God left him . Like Saul, this king wants the harp, the singer, or David to sing something and comfort him. He feels that time is a traitor, leading him towards eternity or timelessness. The king does not want to suffer endlessly, and he wants to believe in mortality.
            The harp replies that it will sing in praise of time. Though there is a period of aching drought with no roots, leaves or rain, causing the death of so many people, soon time brings fertility through the seeds and rain. After acute dryness, there is still hope for humanity when the seeds sprout. This is the mystery of creation. The old king only sighs after hearing the harp’s song, and says that it can not comfort his weary soul since God seems to have forsaken him.
            The harp continues to sing in praise of time, saying that time can even change one’s depression and sorrow to hope, joy and love. Like trees that grow fruit, time leads us to “the truths unknown, the loves unloved.”  Yet the old king is not convinced, and it seems that his loss is beyond redemption. He says that he has failed God, and betayed his love, and there is no hope for him.  Even the seeds of love sown in his heart are dying.
            The harp concludes its song, saying that time teaches the soul to betray all truth, and leaves it comfortless in the end. It wounds the soul, and leads it through the desert’s emptiness.  Only change and distance shape the human being to a great soul.  

Post a Comment