Form and structure

The poem has a fairly straightforward, linear structure and deals with a single recollection of a day at the market.

A sense of intimacy is created through the use of the second person as the speaker addresses her lover directly.

The mood is reflective and slightly wistful - the speaker feels that the relationship has stalled and is desperate for an encouraging sign from her partner that it can be salvaged.

The poem is divided into ten irregular stanzas which each deals with a different recollection or thought.

The complete lack of structure and the use of free verse create a fluid, organic piece of writing. This imitates how difficult it is to control or organise the way memories reveal themselves to us.

There are specific moments when Lochhead does use rhythm and meter for effect, for example, when she recalls the seller of the radios, which helps to create a vivid impression of the characters that inhabit the market.

This is enhanced by the occasional change in voice from the speaker to another person - for instance the stallholder, who says it’s been the doldrums the day.

Instead of paraphrasing, she lets us hear the exchange directly. Again this adds to the authenticity of the experience.