The idea introduced in the previous stanza of having to search for something 'rare' and 'beautiful' among the
rags and drunks is recapitulated in stanza six. Again it could imply that worthwhile, special moments can be found among the ordinary, banal moments in life if we just take the time to seek them out.
However, we are reminded of Lochhead’s very Scottish sense of pragmatism in the next stanza, which opens with the line,
At the Barrows everything has its price.
The stanza continues by giving examples of the skill of the stallholders at coaxing out the best deal -
no haggling…this boy knows his radios.
Lochhead indulges in some lighthearted wordplay in the line, describing the man selling lengths of curtain
in fibreglass who
is flabbergasted at the bargain.
This again creates an upbeat mood. In spite of her worries, the speaker is enjoying the atmosphere and characters that bring the market to life.
By the end of this stanza however, her concerns have resurfaced and she reflects that
All the couples we know fall apart/or have kids.
It is clear here that this relationship has reached a crossroads of sorts. There seem to be only two paths available to them - break up or start a family. This comment is elaborated on in the following verse. The speaker notes with a sense of bitterness that
we’ve never shouldered much. We’ll stick to small ikons for our home.
She suggests that there is perhaps something artificial about their relationship - that maybe, without the responsibility or burden of raising a family, their bond is somehow less legitimate, less valid.
Instead of filling their home with children, they fill it with objects they have collected -
a dartboard a peacock feather/a stucco photoframe.
In the next stanza we return to the market and the couple are at 'Danny’s Do-Nuts'.
The tension between them is cleverly alluded to in the pun describing the sugar that made them
The double meaning in the following lines really reveals the central concern of the poem as the speaker says
I keep/losing you and finding you.
The simplicity and directness of this statement reinforces the growing doubt the speaker feels about her future.