1 "All the way to the hospital /
the lights were as green as
1.1 Poem starts in a
1.2 Simile used to symbolise the
green colour of the traffic lights,
also symbolises the movement
of the poem
2 "Let it be a son, said / the man in
the driving mirror / let it be a son"
2.1 Repetition of "Let it be a son"
show how he hoped to become
father to a healthy boy.
experience as he
refers to his reflection
as "the man"
3 "I parked in the almond's / shadow
blossom, for the tree / was waving,
waving me / upstairs with a child's
3.1 First reference to
the almond tree
3.2 Personification as tree beckons him
into the hospital
4 "New- / Minted, my bright farthing /
coined by our love, stamped with / our
images, how you enrich us!"
4.1 Protagonist is filled with joy and
happiness at the birth of his son.
4.2 This is the
4.3 Repetition of
"our" is used to
emphasise on the
5 "the visitors' bell / scissored the calm
/ ...The doctor walked with me / to the
slicing doors. / ...His voice - I have to
tell / you - set another bell / beating in
my head: / your son is a mongol"
change in tone.
5.2 Harsh language
prepares the reader for
the upcoming shock
5.3 "set another bell beating in
my head" warns reader of
bad news being delivered.
5.4 It is revealed that the
protagonists son has downs
6 "How easily the word went in - / clean
as a bullet / leaving no mark on the skin,
/ stopping the heart within it.
6.1 Simile is used to
emphasise on the
6.2 "mongol" is
like a bullet.
6.3 The doctors' words were quick
and damaging to the protagonist
7 "my own / car under its almond tree /
an the almond waving me down"
7.1 Second reference of
the almond tree.
7.2 Now waving him down to
deal with reality.
8 "In a numbered cot / my son sailed from
me; never to come / ashore in my kingdom /
speaking my language."
8.1 Land and sea imagery is
used as protagonist feels
detached from his son.
8.2 "kingdom" links back to when
the protagonist felt as though
he were a "lucky prince"
8.3 He feels as though him and his
son will never understand each
9 "The almond tree / was beautiful in labour / ...flower
after flower shook free // ...In labour the tree was
becoming itself. I, too / ...saw myself blossoming, //
wrenched from the caul of my thirty / years' growing,
fathered by my son"
9.1 Repetition of "flower" as tree is in full
blossom it is beautiful, when the son
matures he too shall be beautiful.
9.2 Tone changes
9.3 Paradox of "fathered
by my son", Stallworthy
means the protagonists
son has had a maturing
influence on his father.
10 "You have a sickness they cannot heal, /
the doctors say: locked in / your body you
will remain. / Well, I have been locked in
mine. / We will tunnel each other out. You
seal / the covenant with a grin.
10.1 The reader is finally
reminded of the son's
10.2 Protagonist acknowledges that he has
been trapped by a narrow mind.
11 "my little mongol love, / I have learnt
more from your lips / than you will from
mine perhaps. / I have learnt that to live
is to suffer / to suffer is to live."
the child as his
11.2 He has changed
due to his son's
11.3 Repetition of "suffer" and "live"
emphasise on how we can't have
one without the other.