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Baby Sitting

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on 23 January 2014

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Transcript of Baby Sitting

Baby Sitting
By Gillian Clarke

Structure
Theme
Imagery
I am sitting in the wrong room listening
For the wrong baby. I don’t love
This baby. She is sleeping a snuffly
Roseate, bubbling sleep; she is fair;
She is a perfectly acceptable child.
I am afraid of her. If she wakes
She will hate me. She will shout

Her hot midnight rage
, her nose
Will stream disgustingly and the perfume
Of her breath will fail to enchant me.

To her I will represent absolute
Abandonment. For her it will be worse
Than for the lover cold in
lonely
Sheets
; worse than for the woman who waits
A moment
to collect her dignity
Beside the
bleached bone
in the terminal ward.
As she rises sobbing from the
monstrous land
Stretching for milk–familiar comforting,
She will find me and between us two
It will not come. It will not come.
Rhythm
Rhyme
Diction
I am sitting in the wrong room listening
For the wrong baby. I don’t love
This baby. She is sleeping a snuffly
Roseate, bubbling sleep; she is fair;
She is a perfectly acceptable child.
I am afraid of her. If she wakes
She will hate me. She will shout
Her hot midnight rage, her nose
Will stream disgustingly and the perfume
Of her breath will fail to enchant me.

To her I will represent absolute
Abandonment. For her it will be worse
Than for the lover cold in lonely
Sheets; worse than for the woman who waits
A moment to collect her dignity
Beside the bleached bone in the terminal ward.
As she rises sobbing from the monstrous land
Stretching for milk–familiar comforting,
She will find me and between us two
It will not come. It will not come.
I am
s
itting in the wrong room li
s
tening
For the wrong BaBy. I don’t love
Thi
s
BaBy.
S
he is
s
leePing a

s
nuffly
Ro
s
eate,
BuBBling
s
leep;
s
he i
s
fair;
S
he i
s
a Perfectly a
cc
ePtaBle child.
I am afraid of her. If she wakes

S
he will hate me.
S
he will
s
hout
Her hot midnight
rage,
her no
s
e
Will
s
tream di
s
gu
s
tingly and the Perfume
Of her Breath will fail to enchant me.

To her I will repre
s
ent aBsolute
ABandonment. For her it will be wor
s
e
Than for the lover cold in lonely

S
heet
s
; wor
s
e than for the woman who wait
s
A moment to collect her dignity
Be
s
ide the Bleached Bone in the terminal ward.
As
s
he ri
s
e
s

s
oBBing
from the mon
s
trou
s
land

S
tretching for milk–familiar comforting,

S
he will find me and Between u
s
two
It will not come. It will not come.
Plosives
There are lots and lots of plosives in the poem
'Babysitting', these are written as Capital letters. At
the beginning of the poem, Gillian Clark uses lots of plosives to create a sense of violence and anger. These plosives create a sense of anger and also give short sharp shocks of aggression.
Sibilance
Sibilance can also be seen in the poem
'Babysitting', the sibilance has been put
into italics. We think that Gillian Clarke
uses sibilance to create an atmosphere
where although the person telling this
poem is angry, they are still trying to
be quiet because of the baby.
Onomatopoeia's
There are also a few onomatopoeia's in the poem 'Babysitting'. These have been written in bold. These Onomatopoeia's help us imagine what this person is feeling about the baby.
I am sitting in the wrong room listening
For the wrong baby. I don’t love
This baby. She is sleeping a snuffly
Roseate, bubbling sleep; she is fair;
She is a perfectly acceptable child.
I am afraid of her. If she wakes
She will hate me. She will shout
Her hot midnight rage, her nose
Will stream disgustingly and the perfume
Of her breath will fail to enchant me.

To her I will represent absolute
Abandonment. For her it will be worse
Than for the lover cold in lonely
Sheets; worse than for the woman who waits
A moment to collect her dignity
Beside the bleached bone in the terminal ward.
As she rises sobbing from the monstrous land
Stretching for milk–familiar comforting,
She will find me and between us two
It will not come. It will not come.
Caesura

In the poem 'Baby sitting', Gillian Clarke uses lots of caesurae. These pauses create a sense of anger and helping the reader dwell. It gives a sense of insecurity. An example is "sheets
;
worse than for the woman who waits"

Verses
In this poem, Clarke uses a décima structure.
I am sitting in the wrong room listening
For the wrong baby. I don’t love
This baby. She is sleeping a snuffly
Roseate, bubbling sleep; she is fair;
She is a perfectly acceptable child.
I am afraid of her. If she wakes
She will hate me. She will shout
Her hot midnight rage, her nose
Will stream disgustingly and the perfume
Of her breath will fail to enchant me.

To her I will represent absolute
Abandonment. For her it will be worse
Than for the lover cold in lonely
Sheets; worse than for the woman who waits
A moment to collect her dignity
Beside the bleached bone in the terminal ward.
As she rises sobbing from the monstrous land
Stretching for milk–familiar comforting,
She will find me and between us two
It will not come. It will not come.
The narrator is feeling out of place, like they don't want to be there.
Hatred
Sadness
Unloved
Dis-comforting
Gillian Clarke tells the poem in the babysitters point of view. She says at the end "It will not come." twice. This puts an uncomfortable feeling on the reader as the babysitter throughout the whole poem is uncomfortable.
I am sitting in the wrong room listening
For the wrong baby. I don’t love
This baby. She is sleeping a snuffly
Roseate, bubbling sleep; she is fair;
She is a perfectly acceptable child.
I am afraid of her. If she wakes
She will hate me. She will shout
Her hot midnight rage, her nose
Will stream disgustingly and the perfume
Of her breath will fail to enchant me.

To her I will represent absolute
Abandonment. For her it will be worse
Than for the lover cold in lonely
Sheets; worse than for the woman who waits
A moment to collect her dignity
Beside the bleached bone in the terminal ward.
As she rises sobbing from the monstrous land
Stretching for milk–familiar comforting,
She will find me and between us two
It will not come. It will not come.
In 'Baby sitting' there is no rhyme to show that this person is not comfortable being in that house.
This also makes the reader feel uncomfortable.
Metaphors
Clarke uses some metaphors that are highlighted in
red.
Symbolism
'The perfume of her breath will fail to enchant me' is one of many phrases that creates a sense of image. An example of Clarke's use of symbolism is when she describes the baby's breath like 'perfume' .
Enjambement
This is also unusual as babies like to have
comfort, which is exactly what this poem does not have.
This poem doesn't have a set rhythm. Rhythm could resemble the rocking of the baby. Since this narrator does not 'love' the baby, she doesn't rock the baby/care for it.
I am sitting in the wrong room listening
For the wrong baby. I don’t love
This baby. She is sleeping a snuffly
Roseate, bubbling sleep; she is fair;
She is a perfectly acceptable child.
I am afraid of her. If she wakes
She will hate me. She will shout
Her hot midnight rage, her nose
Will stream disgustingly and the perfume
Of her breath will fail to enchant me.

To her I will represent absolute
Abandonment. For her it will be worse
Than for the lover cold in lonely
Sheets; worse than for the woman who waits
A moment to collect her dignity
Beside the bleached bone in the terminal ward.
As she rises sobbing from the monstrous land
Stretching for milk–familiar comforting,
She will find me and between us two
It will not come. It will not come.
Enjambement creates a sense of flow. In
this poem enjambement is only in certain
places such as the end of the first verse.
The narrator is nervous as
this is not her baby so she does
not feel accustomed to it.
The poem looks at a babysitter’s feelings baby-sitting somebody else’s baby and wishing it was theirs. The poem begins with a sense of feeling out of place in ‘a strange room’ not at home, listening ‘for the wrong baby’. This is because she does not love ‘this baby’.
This perhaps symbolizes that however hard the narrator tries to love this baby, she cannot bring herself to it.
The baby is asleep, which is described as: ‘sleeping a snuffly Roseate, bubbling sleep’ the use of alliteration ‘sleeping a snuffly’ express the breathing sounds of the baby, as does the onomatopoeic ‘bubbling’ sound.
Alliteration and onomatopoeia
She fears that if the child wakes ‘she will hate me’ as she will make lots of noise and ‘shout her hot midnight rage’ the ‘h’ alliteration emphasising the harshness of the sounds she may make if she wakes up.
The fact that this is not what she wants is emphasised at the end by the repetition of ‘it will not come’ at the end which really emphasises the sense of emptiness and loneliness felt by both the baby and the baby sitter.
There isn't rhythm in this poem at all. By having no rhythm, when the poem is spoken it is harder to read and it makes the reader feel uncomfortable -the same way that the narrator is feeling.
Questions??
Full transcript