Glasgow Sonnets (i) by Edwin Morgan


BRIEF NOTES ON KEY QUOTES FROM THE "GLASGOW SONNETS (i)".   "A mean wind wanders" - Instantly a harsh environment is implied through "mean wind"; the wind has been personified as an evil, angry character with intent on causing harm. From the word "wanders", the wind is travelling aimlessly/ has no planned route; therefore, the wind is being described as a thug that is aimlessly travelling down the backcourt careless of whom or to what that it may harm. "Hackles on puddles rise" - this imagery illustrates the harsh wind's intentions. The puddles have been placed under attack; this is illustrated through Morgan's use of imagery. Hackles are the hairs found along the back of an animal that rise when alarmed or angry; therefore, the wind's harshness is causing issues for the puddles. This adds to the despair which inhibits this bleak area. "old mattresses puff briefly and subside" - this quote suggests that the mattresses are ready for a fight because they "puff briefly", they are making themselves bigger but they loose their courage and subside; the "mean" wind is to harsh, is a thug. "Play-fortresses" - the bleak conditions are hightened when Morgan writes about a children's playing area as a play-fortress. This word combinations is very interesting because a fortress is a building designed for defence against an enemy, therefore implying that the children are defending themselves from their environment, the invading decay. However, the word "play" suggests that the children are merely playing games which involve them being put under attack, if so, this is ironic because the children are indeed under attack; attack from their disintegrating environment and ultamately that of poverty. the quote then continues: " ... of bric and bric-a-brac" - reading this part of the quote you, as the reader, are made to have sympathy for the children playing their games; they are playing with discarded waste. This shows there is no hope for them - poverty will swallow them.  "have no windows left to smash" - the word choice featured in this quote is also interesting because it gives the reader an insight into the area. What you can gather is that four storeys of the block of flats have no more windows - they have all been smashed. What is interesting, however, is that he writes "left to smash", this implies that if there were any windows people would smash them regardless. This continues this idea of the area being bleak, it implies that…


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