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The Two Brothers Judith Beveridge Essay

I just wanted to keep the snails away from those brothers.
The ones who in the back garden, had shown me themselves,
grinning queerly as when they'd shown me lizards they'd killed,
or sparrows they'd slowly bled with a needle. They tucked

themselves back into their shorts, next to their pockets
where they kept their things to torment me. I collected snails
and hid them in a neglected part of the garden, though always
some flower would let them cobble and feed at its stem.

The snails never needed more than a single leaf to paint
picture-books for a child, the two wands at their heads touching.
When I picked them, they'd delicately immure themselves
into their shells. But those boys, big with the world

in their pockets would dare each other any taste, any soft clot,
any ugly act. When they made tattered lace of a snail
sprinkling it with salt, I clenched my mouth to my knuckles
and felt tears in the circle of my mouth. I knew this moment

as bitterness held to the tongue, as if next those brothers
would kiss me if I cried any louder, or told.
We watched the snails boil and froth like illicit stills.
They pushed twigs in the snails that tried to clamp

softly together, that writhed in salt like epilepsy, (a brew
they dared each other, worse than the froth on swamps).
These brothers who had shown me the dead birds in their pockets;
how many grains of salt it took to evict a small snail;

the fate of any spider they found squatting in the loose shells.
But when they had held themselves in their hands,
they shook a little, not quite sure what they possessed
and touched themselves through the emptiness
of their pockets, scared they'd find the prize of nothing.

Summary: This essay discusses the value and merit of British Poet Judith Beveridge's poems "Domesticity of Giraffes" and "Fox in a tree stump." Describes how each poem clarifies the value of life.


Judith Beveridge is a proponent poet whose poems portray moral values and meanings which are essential elements for the Australian anthology. Two of her poems "Domesticity of giraffes" and "Fox in a tree stump" express these elements by clarifying the value of life, exploring humanity's relationship with animals and raising the issue of inequality between men and women. Therefore, "Domesticity of giraffes" and "Fox in a tree stump" are worthy of inclusion of the Australian anthology.

The two poems clarify the value of life. The enclosure where the giraffe lives in "Domesticity of giraffes" is a metaphor for "no life" as her life is very lonely and restricted. On the other hand, her natural habitat is a metaphor for "life", as is identified in "she could be a big slim bird just before flight", essentially meaning freedom. In writing about how the child prayed not to waken another...

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