Judith Wright, who was born during the First World War, lived through, and was greatly influenced by, many wars that Australia had involved herself in. During an interview in 1985, Judith Wright recounts how her childhood was overshadowed by images of war, and therefore many of her earliest memories were connected with war and its effects. The constant presence of danger forced Wright to confront her awareness that all life ends in death, which has haunted her poetry throughout her years. The fear of death and loss has been expressed in 'The Company of Lovers', which was published in 1946, after Wright saw the influence of the Second World War on Australia. Judith Wright's success in translating human existence into poetry has resulted in
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These two indispensable aspects of human existence are juxtaposed against each other, with each of the aspects, love and death, represented in the first and second stanza respectively. In simply eight lines, Wright is able to successfully present love as a universal, all encompassing and necessary force through the diction of the poem, shown through the lines ?We meet and part now over all the world?, ?We, who sought many things, throw all away / for his one thing? and ?remembering that in the narrow grave / we shall be lonely?. However, as swiftly as Wright introduces love in the first stanza, she takes it back in the second. In the final eight lines Wright is able to reflect upon how fast love can be conquered by death and the loneliness that results. Consequently this causes a hasty and abrupt change in tone, from one which is passionate to one which reveals the harsh veracity of reality, and the mortality of love. This change brings shock to the reader, who previously had been positioned to feel engrossed in the passion and embracing of love, which assists in the absolute communication that death is final and lonely.
This laconic representation conveys the immense sadness for what is to come in reality, that life can be compressed so that all one can feel in the end is death. However, the poem may serve as a warning on how frantically and desperately lovers need