Driving Through Sawmill Towns - Les Murray

“Driving Through Sawmill Towns” By Les Murray

In the poem Les Murray finds beauty in the desolated and dying sawmill town. As an out looker looking into the town, in a snapshot he describes with sympathy the slow ‘fading away’ of the town.

1st Stanza

In the first stanza of Murray’s “DTST” he expresses his ideas through personification and stereotype. “Sideling creek alive with pebbles” is an example of personification shown in the poem and is extending on Murray’s stereotype of a sawmill town. The effect Murray is trying to create is his own perception of the sawmill tow n. The town is described as “bare hamlets built of boards” which hints the idea of the town fading away which is highlighted in stanzas to come.

2nd Stanza

In the second stanza a lot of ideas and feelings are expressed through symbolism and personification. Murray uses both personification and symbolism to portray his ideas and feelings ‘Through a trolley borne trunk’. In stanza 2 Murray subsequently highlights the isolation of the town “Looking towards a city” and yet again hints the fading away of the town.

Stanza 3

In stanza 3 Murray uses symbolism to convey his ideas. “The half heard radio sings” Is an example of personification and symbolism and shows how Murray uses effective language to portray the idea of isolation and fading away. In stanza 3 Murray describes the isolation of the town “a cry from the hill, a footstep, nothing”. This phrase is symbolic of the town’s desolate and depressing appearance. “Verandas of shyness” brings a symbolic meaning as it suggests the shyness and unlively appearance of the town.

Stanza 4

Stanza 4 is very symbolic and highlights and supports the idea of the town fading away. Strong symbolism and personification is used in the last stanza to effectively convey Murray’s ideas. “Ground crickets stop and pause” is both personification and symbolic of the towns dying atmosphere. “Rolling a dead match” is very symbolic of the towns dying...