Form and structure

The poem is divided into two sections with four line stanzas throughout. Kay uses free verse with only the odd moment of rhyme to convey the sense that she is speaking to her son.

Section I

The first section of the poem charts Kay’s pregnancy and the birth of Matthew. It is only four stanzas in length. This suggests the brevity of babyhood and how it is quickly over.

The section begins with Kay staring at the empty Moses basket awaiting her baby’s arrival and ends with Kay laying her new son in the basket. This suggests suggests completion and contentment.

Section II

Matthew soon grows up and the second section begins with Kay standing in his room when he is away travelling.

She describes how she follows his journey and the moments when he phones home or they talk using a webcam.

Woven through this much longer section are Kay’s memories of Matthew’s scan pictures - this links back to his early life. She is obviously proud of him but possibly also concerned about her once-little child is out in the big wide world.

Warnings from his grandfather are also threaded into the verse. The reader feels Kay’s anxiety when Matthew says he will be home four weeks later than he had planned. However, the tone that ends the poem is upbeat and the final line returns to the first in a circular manner by mentioned the basket once more.

Parallels and contrasts

The first lines of each section draw a parallel between the expectant Moses basket nd the older son’s vacant bed. This implies that the last time Kay waited so long for her son was before he was born. Both then and now he is outwith her control. In each case all she can do is wait, filled with love, for him to come to her when he is ready.

His face on the webcam is described as being grainy, blurry - a consequence of being so far away. This indistinctness reminds us of the scan photograph, and also his birth when he emerged blue and floury.

The final image of Matthew with his arms outstretched amidst vast landscapes contrasts with the earlier images of containment the basket and the tight tub. It is as if in embarking on this gap year he is becoming an adult and breaking free of the constraints of childhood to find his own path in life.