Martin & MathewThemes: Relationships, Christmas, Value and Significance of ReligionVerse 1 – Lines 1-8The poet sets the scene. He names a well known street in Glasgow, which is a major commercial centre. He writes details about the weather and time of day are mentioned, it is cold and dark. The present tense that he uses makes us feel as if we are witnessing the events with him. Although this appears to be just an ordinary event, but the poet witnesses it as much greater than it actually is, this is shown with the analogy.There is a contrast between the cold weather and the warmth of the trio’s friendship.Line 2: The analogy here compares the three friends to the three Kings [Magi] that brought gifts to baby Jesus. The objects they bring in this poem are important. The guitar is a gift to someone else and this relates to the gifts brought by the three wise men. The girl carries a young baby, representing the baby Jesus himself. The Chihuahua relates to the beasts that were present at his birth.The Christmas lights the poet describes represent the star followed by the Magi.Line 7: “Their breath rises in a cloud of happiness” their breath is being compared to a cloud. What they have in common is that, as a cloud would surround you, these people are enveloped in their happiness. This suggests that the Trio’s happiness is tangible but also that it is a unifying force.Line 8: “Wait till he sees this but!” This colloquialism sets the scene once more, and reinforces the idea of us witnessing their passing, continuing the present tense. It also brings this character to life.Verse 1 – Lines 9-12The descriptions of the gifts are important.Adjectives: “Tiny”, “Bright”, “White”, “Brisk”, “Tartan”, “Sweets”, “Plastic”, “Silver”, “Fresh”These adjectives are all cosy and domestic ones.“tiny Royal Stewart tartan coat like a teapot-holder” This simile is comparing the dogs coat to a teapot holder. They are both small and designed to keep something warm. This is slightly humorous as the dogs coat is being compared to a household and slightly mundane object. It’s important as it tells us that this dog is well cared for.“baby in its white shawl all bright eyes and mouth like favours in a fresh sweet cake.” The baby’s mouth is being compared to the decorations on a wedding cake. Both of these things are delicate. The colour of the icing gives an idea of purity and innocence. This baby is loved and cared for and a wedding is a celebration of love. The effect of this simile is to show that the baby is loved and pretty to look at.There is a synecdoche in the baby’s description. Its eyes and mouth are described to refer to the whole baby. These are the baby’s most obvious features. The word “bright” suggests the baby is interested and willing to learn about the world. The baby’s mouth is what is most important to the child as it is where it eats.The guitar is described as “milky”, this links to the previous white descriptions but also links to the baby, as milk is what they drink. The word “brisk” suggests life and vibrancy, this is not plastic but real mistletoe.Lines 10-11: Here there are two lines which are to long to fit, and carry on over two lines. The effect of this is to mimic the amount of love and care that the Trio show collectively.
Martin and FraserLines 20-24The dash at the beginning of line 20 is used for parenthesis. It gives the poet the opportunity to give us more information about the Trio to reflect on their greater significance.The brackets used on lines 21-23 to reflect on the Trio’s importance, and what they represent to humanity in society.The repetition of “vanished” is to make the point even though they have actually vanished (they have walked past him), the thoughts they provoked in him still remain.The point being made in lines 21-22 is the poet suggesting that each member of the trio is carrying objects that represent an important aspect of human existence. Baby = love, beast = working animals, pets. Music = cultural life.The effects of linking the nouns with “and” (a conjunction) is to show that each is as important as each other, and are interlinked in his opinion.The simile in line 23 “laughter ringing them round like a guard” The laughter is being compared to a guard. The laughter protects them from life difficulties in the same way a guard protects somebody in their care. This is a pleasant, positive image which underlines Morgan’s point about strength we draw from others. The idea of the laughter protecting the trio is mirrored by the punctuation, the brackets encircles these lines in the same way the laughter encircles the trio.
Hazel, Margaret and Alastair"The baby in its white shawl is all bright eyes and mouth like favours in a fresh sweet cake." The baby's mouth is being compared to decorations on a wedding cake. They're both delicate. The colour of the icing is likely to be white so it will reflect the newness, purity and innocence of the baby. The wedding cake is in a celebration of love and the baby is a center of love. The baby is loved ans is attractive in the same way the wedding cake is. Synecdoche: The baby's eyes and mouth are used to refer to the whole. The eyes and mouth are the baby's most obvious features. The eyes are bright suggesting the baby is alert, alive, confident and aware of the world. It is also a reflection of how important the mouth is to the baby as it is where it gets it food from. It also goes back to the fact of how loved and cared for the baby is."The guitar swells out under its milky plastic cover, tied at the neck with silver tinsel and a brisk of mistletoe" Refering back to the baby and its food, white suggests innocence and purity of the baby. "Brisk", suggests life and vibrancy and it suggests it's real and not a copy. Milky and brisk suggest life and new life starting at the end of one year and the beginning of another one. "Orphean sprig!" reference to mistletoe and to Orpheus who is a famous musician in Greek legend. The point here is to underline the importance of music to us a way of expressing our emotions. "Melting baby!" This is commenting how wrapped out and snug the baby is which goes back to suggest someone did this because the baby is loved and cared for."Warm Chihuahua!" Suggests the dog is also cosy with its little coat on and someone is caring for the dog."The vale of tears is powerless before you" This is a biblical phrase, it is a metaphor for lifes problems. The biblical language is very important bacause it continues the religious theme. This doesn't matter to them because their friendships are more powerful than the hardship.
Margaret, Hazel, LornaThere is an irony that he uses Christian imagery to prove that religion doesn’t really matter. Perhaps he is wrong.He uses less formal language to describe the trio, to reinforce his point of their friendship as suppose to religion.The lower case of “fate” is to disguise its importance, saying that fate isn’t as important as friendship.“Abdicates”- organised religion giving up its place in the face of secular love and friendship.“Monsters of the year go blank” troubles of the last year lose their ability to frighten – defeated by the shared love/happiness”The poets choice of the word “munch” in line 19 shows the group of three are very confident-new hope, feeling of renewal. There is an irony, making the irrelevance clear at Christmas time. It is a time that you spend with your friends as you give and receive gifts. You are showing how you care for others.
The message Edwin Morgan is trying to convey is that the human spirit of giving at Christmas is more important than the birth of Jesus Christ
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