1 The poems tells a one-sided conversation as the poet imagines she has
gone back in time to address her nine-year-old self. She reflects on the
mistakes she has made, and envies the child her carefree innocence.
2 STRUCTURE - six stanzas of uneven length, varied
sentence lengths. Fragmented rhyme - sounds
conversational and natural to say.
3 LANGUAGE - colloquial, conversational - 'you must forgive me.' Active verbs such as 'run, climb, leap' show unrestrained
energy of children. Double entendre of 'scars' - both physical and emotional. 'Do you remember how...?' sense of nostalgia,
regret for her lost innoncence. Contrasts pleasant, light-hearted elements- 'baby vole, sherbert lemons' with sudden repulsive
image of 'cesspit.' Image of innocence marred by realism 'men in cars after girl-children' - the child is already losing her
innocence and becoming aware of the dangers of the world. Poem ends with visceral, uncomfortable image 'slowly peeling a
ripe scab from your knee to taste it on your tongue' reclaims reader's attention, induces physical repulsion.
4 VOICE - first person - personal reflections,
addresses younger self directly as 'you',
occasionally unifies to 'we' particularly in
3rd stanza. Maintains adult persepctive.
Tone is sometimes nostalgic, most often
bleak, reminiscent - 'I have fears enough
for us both' - ominous suggestion of
hardships to come as the child grows.
Present tense - encounter is happening as
the poem is read.
5 Compare with 'An Easy Passage' by Julia
Copus - both explore themes of adulthood
compared to childhood and the transition
between the two.