Around them the cracks deepen, the rats crawl.
Having set the scene outside, Morgan goes inside to see the effects of this decay upon the residents.
The cracks deepen refers to the structure of the walls and ceilings breaking down. It also acts as a metaphor for a society that is falling apart when it allows its people to live in this way. The
rats suggest abandoned and diseased conditions.
The kettle whimpers on a crazy hob.
A man is shown living in terrible depredation. Morgan uses personification to link the man's situation with his surrounding.
Kettle whimpers describes the weak noise of the simmering kettle and also the sad cry of despair of the man himself. The
crazy hob suggests his flat is run down and in need of repair. This is an example of transferred epithet as it suggests the impact of these living conditions on the man's mental health.
There is a striking contrast in the next line when Morgan talks of
roses of mould. The rose is a traditional symbol of love and courtship -the sort of token that would often feature in the traditional love poetry of the conventional sonnet. Here it denotes something else growing in the man’s flat. Dampness has led to a soft green or grey growth which is spreading from the ceiling to the walls. The attractive image suggested by a rose creates a contrast that highlights the sickly decay of what is actually happening here.
The man lies late since he has lost his job
Depression has gripped the man. He
lies late as he no longer has employment. There is nothing to get up for. He cannot even find the motivation to rise while he smokes a cigarette.
letting his coughs fall/ thinly into an air too poor to rob.
He seems ill. THe fact that his
coughs fall thinly suggest weakness or possibly a chest infection. He has nothing left and little to live for. Morgan finishes with another transferred epithet by stating that the air (and suggesting that the man and the other inhabitants of the building) are
too poor to rob. This links back to the previous image of a
fortress in which the inhabitants and their belongings are protected. However there is nothing worth attacking the fortress for.
There is the idea of people living in a landscape that has been reduced to criminal activity in order to survive but that the people have had so much taken from them that there are no longer any pickings to be had.