The poem opens with the personal pronoun ‘She’. This suggests a sense of detachment – the distance of memory or the distance between our modern lives and the post-war hoarding of the grandmother.
Kay then uses another pronoun ‘you see’ – she addresses the reader directly and continues to do so throughout the poem.
It is as if she is opening the door of her grandmother’s house and showing us her home and her world.
Her bedroom is my favourite
The second stanza introduces a detailed description of a room laden with clutter. The repetition of ‘ever’ -
ever got - and note that the clutter dates from
since the War suggest the sheer amount of stuff there is.
We hear her mother’s
moans in the repetitive
Does she use it. Does she even look at it. These are embedded in the poem rather like the
wrapped items listed in the lines that follow.
To the child, these objects equal a game – there is a childlike sense of wonder as she unwraps and wraps the parcels, just as her grandmother once did. She then climbs over
all the newspaper parcels to get to bed. This stresses how little she is in comparison to the parcels – she is clearly remembering herself as a small child.
All continues the sense of wonder at the quantity of parcels. And again there is an element of play:
harder than the school's obstacle course
In the third stanza the energy of the grandmother is suggested by
Just as there is a sense that the grandmother did not need or want the presents she has received, here we see the grandmother’s animosity towards a new flat.
shiny new pin is obviously the grandmother’s voice describing the new functional high rise. The simplicity of
Here is home conveys a degree of poignancy which makes the reader sympathise with the grandmother - she does not want to move and be wrenched away from familiar surroundings.
sideboard solid as a coffin
The reference to a coffin suggests that this is where the grandmother has pictured herself staying until her life ends.