Form, structure and language

Form and structure

Walking Away is written in four stanzas, each of five lines in length. The rhyme scheme abaca uses simple, often monosyllabic rhymes (‘day’, ‘play’, ‘away’). This lends a melancholic tone to the poem, as if these feelings are uncomplicated but raw.

The pace of the poem is measured, reflecting the thought processes of the parent. This separation hasn’t happened in a hurry. It is gradual and slow-paced like the poem.

A first-person voice is used, and the persona speaks directly to his child using the personal pronoun ‘you’ which gives the poem a very intimate and moving feel.

Language

A photo of seeds blowing from a dandelion seed head
The imagery of 'a winged seed' refers to a child parting from a parent

The poet uses images from nature to show this parting of parents and children. He refers to the ‘leaves just turning’ to ‘a half-fledged thing’ and to ‘a winged seed’. These images suggest that this parting is natural, even if it is difficult.

There are several words used to refer to the separation - ‘wrenched from its orbit’, ‘eddying away’, ‘walking away’ (which is repeated) - showing that this movement away of child from parent is steady and considered.

The word ‘away’ is repeated three times, emphasising the parent’s concern.