Form and structure

The poem is written in six stanzas, each of five lines and relatively equal length. It is a dramatic monologue. This form allows the reader to access the speaker's thoughts. Kay writes in first person using the present tense, which makes this insight more powerful and vivid. The situation may be alien to most readers but by putting us in the woman’s position Kay helps us empathise with anyone in these circumstances. The poem charts the journey of the mother and daughter as they move from the house to the car to having to go with the men.

Although Kay does not use a tight rhyme scheme, the presence of half rhyme "appeared/fear", "suits/"soothe" work to hold each stanza together. There is also rhythm created by lines such as "packing things, turning out lights" which works with the sound to give the poem a sense of pace and action, mimicking the mother's hurry, her fear and anxiety and the fact they are travelling.

The poem ends with the mother trying to soothe her child to sleep again, despite her own feelings of terror, which brings the poem back to the title. This reminds us that the whole ordeal is perhaps an effort to save her child.