Form and structure

This is an autobiographical poem so it makes sense that the poet employs a first person narrative stance. Like all MacCaig poetry, part of its success lies in his skill of using accessible language in an incredibly skilful and effective way.

Writing in free verse helps to create a conversational style and tone, while the use of enjambment and repetition allow him to emphasise key aspects of the poem.

The poem is divided into five stanzas which each deal with a specific focus. The first introduces us to the subject of the poem- Aunt Julia. The second describes her physical appearance and the objects MacCaig most strongly associates with her.

In the third stanza, the perspective moves away from Julia to the way the poet felt when he visited her while in the fourth he uses personification to create a sense of her character.

The concluding stanza reflects on his own frustration that he was unable to communicate effectively with her while she was alive, at the same time as expressing his enduring affection and admiration for her.