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Football After School
Transcript of Football After School
What is the narrator trying to communicate? In what way does she express it?
How do we know this?
The voice in this poem is apparently the mother of the child that is playing football. She is trying to communicate her feelings about her son playing this sport.
The poem is composed by five stanzas with a regular number of seven verses each.
Football After School
Football after School (to Kerry)
You’ll be one of them in a few years,
warpaint slicked over your face –
your common language jeers,
dribbling the sun about the place
with the premature swagger of manhood,
butting it with your head:
your school tie a stiff striped dagger.
Yes, soon you’ll be picking scabs
of kisses off your skin as each kick
makes you dwarf a tree, and stab
a flower; the unset homework
between the margins of this makeshift pitch teaching you more than a textbook
how to survive any monster’s switch.
Yet as I look at your porcelain skin,
their granite jowls, I wonder if you’ll ever
know how to dodge bruises on your shins
from studded boots, be clever
enough to tackle fouls with something
more than ink stained fists and feet. Perhaps
you’ll be too vulnerable for living –
not hooligan enough to trample
into the sod your shadow that grows
twice as fast as yourself, to sample
punches below the belt from on you know
without flinching. I can’t prevent
crossbones on your knees
turn bullies into cement –
or confiscate the sun
they’ll puncture and put out.
In their robust world I’m no Amazon.
I can only scream inside without a shout
for you not to inherit my fragility:
never to love too much or to be aged
as I was by youth’s anxiety.
In this poem the narrator is the mother of a child that practices football. She is shown as a stereotypical paranoid parent that worries about her son playing this sport, seeing it as violent and inappropriate for her fragile son.
Loss of innocence (Main theme):
The poem itself seems to be a metaphor about the child growing up.
Future/Loss of innocence:
The mother is worried about the future and about the changes it may bring to her son as he grows up, and the hard parts of life he will have to endure as he "picks scabs and kisses" off his skin.
Change/Loss of innocence:
"You'll soon be one of them", the mother is worried about the changes growing up are going to cause on her child.
The mother wants his son to stay a little child and is scared of him growing up and changing.
Parenthood and Protection:
As written before, the mothers sense of protection to his child is present during the poem, as when she worries if he will "ever know how to dodge bruises", referring to the hardships of growing up.
We commented that the narrator was worried about her son getting hurt while playing football "dribbling the sun about the place" is a metaphor that effectively pictures the ball as something very risky to play with-the sun no less, that should be avoided if one should have any common sense. She also as far as comparing football to war "warpaint slicked over your face" and "stiff striped dagger"."Porcelain skin" equals his skin with porcelain, which is beautiful but used for decoration, and would shatter if used for something violent.
In conclusion the poem communicates the worries of a kid's mother who practices a sport that she believes dangerous and will get him hurt. The themes of protection and transition can be seen clearly throughout the poem as the parent struggles to keep calm while she watches her son putting himself in the way of harm.