Stanza two

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The train this slow evening/ goes down England

In this stanza, Duffy refers in more detail to the train journey. She sets the time "this slow evening" and the place "goes down England". The use of "this" tells us that this is a very specific time Duffy is referring to, possibly “The day” from her mother’s phrase.

The journey seems to be taking forever. The evening is "slow" suggesting that time itself has stretched, and that she has the chance to think and reflect. The train is "browsing" also has an unrushed, leisurely feel to it. Moreover, the use of long vowel sounds in "slow", "goes down" and "browsing" lows the pace of the words adding to the unhurried mood.

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the right sky/ too blue swapped for a cool grey.

Here Duffy uses another contrast between the colours "blue" and "grey" to reflect both a real and a metaphorical change. The move from blue to grey reflects the change from day to night on this evening journey. It also represents the move from child to adult.

The "too blue" could represent childhood, as it has connotations of sunshine and happiness – the use of "too" also makes us think of the phrase "too good to be true", as if we always look at our youth with rose-tinted spectacles. The "cool grey" suggests the uncertainty of becoming an adult. Life is becoming darker.

"Browsing" suggests that the train hasn’t quite decided where it is going - the poet is not sure of her destination. This could reflect the idea of a young person leaving home, trying things out and looking for a new place in life. The fact that she is still trying to find "the right sky" implies that she is yet to find a way of life that suits her.

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What like is it

Again, in this stanza, her mother's voice emerges. Duffy introduces another of her phrases and again the use of italics tells us this is her mother speaking. As before, the phrase repeats and suggests the sounds of the train.

Duffy says that these words come to her when she 'thinks', which conveys that her inner voice is linked to her mother's. These phrases repeat themselves in her head. She is not speaking them out loud. This shows just how much of an effect her mother had on her development: she is still within her thought processes.

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Nothing is silent. Nothing is not silent.

The relationship between internal and external dialogue is explored further in the line. Here the repetition of "nothing" connects the two short sentences. The double negative in the second implies that, what doesn't exist in the here and now (your memories, your past) still has a voice in your head. It still has influence.