Form and structure

The poem takes the form of an opening five-line stanza followed by two stanzas of nine lines. In the first stanza, she describes repeating her mother’s words in her head and under her breath. This suggests that they are bound up with her own self.

This union between mother and daughter is emphasised by the brevity of the stanza and the inclusion of the two women in it. The next two stanzas then, could represent the 'journey' or the different stages ahead of the speaker in becoming an adult, which she embarks on, equipped with the close connection she had with her mother.

Duffy also uses rhythm and rhyme throughout this poem to great effect. The repetition of her mother's expressions create the rhythm of the train in each stanza to remind us that she is on a journey. The use of half rhyme "head" and "breath", "think" and "silent" also work to hold each stanza together. There are also stronger rhymes such as "moving" and "evening". These connect the words, in this case implying that this moment in time is one of transition.