Critical Essay Some poems can provide an uplifting or joyful experience for the reader. Choose such a poem and go on to explain how the poet’s use of poetic techniques helps us to share his emotions. In your answer you should refer to at least two of: structure,word choice, imagery, tone, ideas. Trio • Theme of warmth, happiness, relationships • religious element three -wise men • the word ‘trio’ suggests the three working together, in harmony • Line arrangement also has divisions into three sections Coming up Buchanan Street, quickly, on a sharp winter evening a young man and two girls, under the Christmas lights- • • • • • A real location ‘quickly’ suggests their liveliness, energy day and season is established coldness contrasts with the warmth of the three the Christmas lights reminds us of the star leading the Magi to Bethlehem • the dash opens parenthesis containing a detailed description of a fleeting ‘instamatic’ moment The young man carries a new guitar in his arms, the girl on the inside carries a very young baby, and the girl on the outside carries a chihuahua. • • • • Repetition of ‘young’ highlights youth the guitar relates to the Magi, bearing gifts the baby reminds us of Mary and the baby Christ the exotic little dog relates to the beasts round the manger And the three of them are laughing, and their breath rises in a cloud of happiness, and as they pass the boy says, ‘Wait till he sees this, but!’ • ‘Laughing’ reinforces the positive atmosphere • the ‘cloud of happiness’ is a metaphor suggesting that their happiness is almost visible, tangible and infectious. It is cold and their breath in the air would be visible. • the direct speech (with obvious Glaswegian dialect) brings them to life and suggests their warmth and generosity The chihuahua has a tiny Royal Stewart tartan coat like a teapotholder, the baby in its white shawl is all bright eyes and moth like favours in a fresh sweet cake, the guitar swells under its milky plastic cover, tied at the neck with silver tinsel tape and a brisk sprig of mistletoe. • Structure here, with long lines spilling over, suggests their warmth and happiness spilling over and infecting others, also suggested by “swells” • simile “teapot-holder” suggests warmth, cosiness • simile ‘favours’ suggests weddings and christenings: happy family occasions • ‘milky’ suggests the nurturing of the child • alliteration suggests the sounds of the tinsel and wrapped gifts Orphean sprig! Melting baby! Warm chihuahua! • The poet seems overwhelmed and filled with wonder at the image, shown by the use of exclamation marks • their warmth ‘Melting’ & ‘Warm’ has affected him • Orpheus is the Greek God of music(guitar) • the sprig is mistletoe (associated with kissing) The vale of tears is powerless before you. Whether Christ is born, or is not born, you put paid to fate, it abdicates under the Christmas lights • ‘vale of tears’ is a Biblical expression suggesting pain and suffering • The next line suggests Morgan is not concerned with a Christian message in this poem, but more the idea of the power of human love at this time • ‘fate’ often written with a capital letter, loses its power here and ‘abdicates’ like a king giving up the throne because the trio “you” is more powerful • the pushing aside of the Christian message is reflected in layout of the line ‘under the Christmas lights’ pushed aside Monsters of the year go blank, are scattered back, can’t bear this march of three. • Bad things like death, break ups, burglary, work stress are cancelled out , forgotten when we start to remember what is really important • ‘march of three’ suggests an army, three musketeers etc., heroes who are defeating unhappiness -And the three have passed, vanished in the crowd (yet not vanished, for in their arms they wind the life of men and beasts , and music, laughter ringing round them like a guard) at the end of this winter’s day. • Parenthesis - closes the initial image/moment. Brackets are used to extend their presence - they might have vanished but their effect continues. Without the brackets it would be as if their influence had also gone • ‘ringing’ suggests Christmas bells and is a sound that lingers just like their happy image lingers • ‘like a guard’ simile- their laughter protects them, keeps them safe and happy Some poems can provide an uplifting or joyful experience for the reader. Choose such a poem and go on to explain how the poet’s use of poetic techniques helps us to share his emotions. In your answer you should refer to at least two of: structure, word choice, imagery, tone, ideas. • Introduction •Word choice / imagery •Structure •Conclusion Remember that your focus is on an uplifting experience, so choose those words and images that create the joyful atmosphere most powerfully. When writing about structure , explain what the parenthesis & sentence structure add to the emotional impact. 1. Point relevant to task 2. Technique 3. Quotation 4. Analysis 5. Personal reaction Although the day is cold and frosty, the love that unites the three people keeps them warm. Morgan uses imagery effectively to convey how he is infected by their warmth: “their breath rises in a cloud of happiness.” This metaphor conveys how in the cold air their breath is visible – literally a cloud, but it also suggests that their happiness itself is visible, tangible and infectious to all they pass. Through Morgan’s vivid description , the reader is also touched by the warmth of the three. Introduction ‘Trio’ by Edwin Morgan is an uplifting poem which examines the power of human warmth and kindness during the festive season. Morgan has beautifully captured an instant of time when three happy young shoppers pass him in the street. He is clearly affected by this experience and shares with his reader the joyful atmosphere of the moment and the overwhelmingly positive insight he gained into the human condition.