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You Will Know When You Get There Summary & Analysis
by Allen Curnow

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The New Zealand poet Allen Curnow published “You Will Know When You Get There” in 1982, including it in his collection of the same name. In the poem, a person walks down a steep slope into the ocean as daylight fades. Using this descent as a metaphor for what it's like to approach death, the poem examines the inevitability of death and the fact that everyone, in the end, dies alone. At the same time, the poem hints that there may be a “right time” to die and that, in doing so, one becomes part of a larger, mysterious universe.

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