Foreground - the couple

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With a ragged diamond/ of shattered plate-glass/ a young man and his girl/ are falling backwards into a shop-window.

The first 14 lines describe a young couple falling into a plate glass window. At this stage of the poem, we don’t know what has been the cause of this incident. This section of the poem is the foreground of the word picture - it presents a dramatic image that grabs the attention before we look further into the picture.

There is a detailed description of the couple's fall through the glass. This seems like a frozen image - a photographic snapshot which would occur too quickly to be recorded in such detail by the human eye.

The first line ends with the word diamond which describes the irregular hole made in the window. It also suggests that this is a jewellery shop. A diamond ring is often used as an engagement ring. This implies that the young couple are in love and may have been looking at a ring at the time they were assaulted.

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The young man's face/is bristling with fragments of glass

The glass breaks as the couple fall. Fragments embed themselves in the face of the young man – an injury which would lead to scarring and could be life altering. Morgan describes them as bristling. This suggests many short, sharp pieces, like bristles of stubble. It also suggests aggression, reflecting the violence of the situation.

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the girl's leg has caught/ on the broken window/ and spurts arterial blood/ over her wet-look white coat.

The girl sustains a more dangerous injury. Her wound spurts according to the description. The reference to arterial blood is specific and medical. This is information for the emergency services, or for a medical or police report. This is a dramatic loss of blood and could be potentially fatal. This is emphasised by the reference to her wet-look white coat – a style popular at this time. The "wet-look" makes the reader think of it as covered in blood.

The couple's posture is described as starfished – their arms spasm out as they are caught in time. This is an animal rather than human description. This has the effect of dehumanising the young couple as traumatised bodies rather than people.

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their faces show surprise, shock,/ and the beginning of pain.

Their expressions show astonishment at what has happened to them. Alliteration is used for emphasis here with show surprise, shock. The sibilant sounds slow the pace adding to the sense of moments that are frozen. This adds to the horror of the situation for the reader.

This sense of time freezing is reinforced by the fact that the couple are only just beginning to feel pain. The reader is caught up in the immediacy of what is happening. We are also left imagining what impact this incident will have on the couple. What physical and emotional pain are they still to face?