Poetry by Gwen Harwood - Father and Child, at Mornington

In many of Gwen Harwood’s poems there are recurring themes of childhood memories, growing up, ageing, the significance of relationships, the concept of life and death and her sentiments towards these themes throughout these life stages, in developing her adult perspectives. It is the integration of these attitudes and ideas, into these themes that demonstrate her adult perspectives. Harwood’s ideas and attitudes showcase her philosophical, musical and religious interests and background along with her inquisitive nature. This evident through the study of themes and techniques in her poems “Father and Child: Barn Owl and Nightfall”, “At Mornington” and many others.    
Childhood is a time where the formation of the necessities for adulthood begins, on the surface of tiny, innocent brains absorbing all their surrounds. This absorption initiates the creation of memories which serve as elusive reminders, furthering the development of the brain’s ideas and attitudes towards life as we age, thus creating adult perspectives.
Harwood’s childhood was heavily influenced by those adults surrounding her, especially her mother, grandmother and father. Harwood’s mother and grandmother were highly religious and her father was very musical and could play the piano and violin by ear. Harwood took a liking to music but it wasn’t until early middle-age she realised it was in fact the thoughts, expressions and rhythm behind the music that attracted her. Venturing into motherhood further developed her religious and spiritual beliefs as she was liberated with each child born, beginning to question the idea of being, instigating her deep philosophical interests. She followed the philosopher Wittgenstein, who believed there was more to life than the scientific definition of “being alive” and that “being” also existed on a much higher level through the human emotion and spirit.   They believed that it was...