Stanzas nine to eleven

In this section the poet naturally moves towards her conclusion in tandem with the closing of the market.

It is packing up time and darkness is beginning to fall. The speaker and her partner show each other the bargains they have picked up as they wait in the cold for a bus.

The real value of these objects though is dubious. The box she has bought is maybe rosewood and has a broken catch while he has purchased a waistcoat that she notes needs a stitch/it just won’t get.

Holding hands
Holding hands

The optimism that would have once accompanied these purchases is replaced with cold hard reality and certainty that neither the box nor the waistcoat will ever be mended.

This bleak note is continued in the final line. It reinforces the quandary the couple are confronted with about the future of their relationship.

Their worries are so evident that language is unnecessary and there doesn’t seem to be a lot to say. The speaker asserts that I wish we could either mend things/or learn to throw them away.

The masculine rhyme in the last lines adds to the air of finality. While both seem to be aware that their relationship has reached a pivotal moment, they seem unwilling or unable to find the energy to reinvigorate it.

We do not know what the future holds for this couple but there are enough clues throughout to suggest that they are not quite ready to give up. Unlike the bargains picked up at the market that are broken or in a state of disrepair, there is a way that their relationship could still be mended.