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Registers- Michael Laskey

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by

Michael Chan

on 16 April 2015

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Transcript of Registers- Michael Laskey

Registers- Michael Laskey
Registers- Michael Laskey
Out of the warm primordial cave
of our conversations, Jack's gone.
No more chit-chat under the blankets
pegged over chairs and nipped in drawers.

Throughout his first five years an ear
always open, at worst ajar,
I catch myself still listening out
for sounds of him in the sensible house


Annotation_1st Stanza
Throughout his first five years an ear
always open, at worst ajar,
I catch myself still listening out
for sounds of him in the sensible house
where nothing stirs but the washing machine
which clicks and churns. I'm loosening his arms
clasped round my neck, detaching myself
from his soft protracted kiss goodbye.
Annotation_4th Stanza
Good boy, diminishing down the long
corridors into the huge unknown
assembly hall, each word strange,
even his name on Miss Cracknell's tongue.
Michael Chan
Background
Michael Laskey has spent all his life being associated with poetry in some way or the other.
He founded the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival in 1989.
He has taught English in secondary schools in Spain and England for several years.
This poem is about his son leaving home for school when just five years old. It talks about the his feelings at his young son’s departure.
The poem itself
where nothing stirs but the washing machine
which clicks and churns. I'm loosening his arms
clasped round my neck, detaching myself
from his soft protracted kiss goodbye.

Good boy, diminishing down the long
corridors into the huge unknown
assembly hall, each word strange,
even his name on Miss Cracknell's tongue.


From Thinking of Happiness, 1991
Out of the warm primordial cave
of our conversations, Jack's gone.
No more chit-chat under the blankets
pegged over chairs and nipped in drawers.
warm- a sense of comfort
Primordial- constituting a beginning; giving origin to something derived or developed
Our- Illustrates their itimate relationship
"Listing Effect"
Annotation_2nd Stanza
Providing facts;
Indicating his son is 5 year old
Caesura;
Relationship with son interrupted by school
Being protective
Annotation_3rd Stanza
Caesura;
being separated from his son
choice of words
Onomatopoeia
To draw out or lengthen, especially in time; Extend the duration of
Unfamiliar environment
location of words;
Placing his son as the first thing mentioned in the stanza
The poet’s son has left home and gone to a boarding school. The poet misses the child and the life they lived together. Jack used to rig up a tent .They used to have their lazy chat sessions. The poet used to always keep one ear open for sounds of the boy but now the house is devoid of a child’s sounds. Only the washing machine chugs and whirs inside it. The poet then remembers the boy’s protracted goodbye kiss when he threw his arms around his neck. When he reaches the school, he walks down the long corridor, growing smaller as he walked away. Everything was strange for him, even the way his name was called by the teacher.
Metaphorical inference
The central idea of the poem is a mother’s sorrow when her son leaves home at the age of five to go to school. She senses his presence in the house when he is not there; she misses his childish games. The child too was unwilling to leave his mother; he clings to her while saying goodbye. She has to detach his baby arms away from her neck. When he reaches the school, the strange assembly hall dwarfs the child. Everything is strange there.
Summary
It is not sure whether the persons is the poet or an imaginary mother. Since it is the mother who spends more time with a young child. The tone of the poem is melancholic. The mother or the poet misses Jack and the childish games they used to play. Jack clung to his mum while saying goodbye; this his mother remembers with heartbreak. The huge school structure looms over the child making him appear insignificant. Everything is strange in the school. Even the way the teacher, Miss Cracknell utters his name is strange. There is formal rhyme scheme used. The language used is not poetic but everyday common language.


Analysis
Overall impression

There is a strain of gentle melancholy running right through the poem. The subject matter of the poem is not an elevated one; it about a child going to school for the first time. The persona misses Jack sorely, misses the games they played and the chatter.
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