Sunny Prestatyn by Phil Larkin
The poem Sunny Prestatyn presents a bleak picture of reality against a deceiving advertising imagery in a melancholic, yet entertaining manner. The semantic field of sex is used throughout the poem.
In the first stanza we are presented with a picture perfect holiday resort’s advertising poster, carefully composed around an alluring and beautiful, pristine girl. Symbolism, in tautened white satin, is used to emphasize her alleged purity as she symbolizes the resort itself. Yet this image is subtly sexualized as she is presented as the embodiment of lush behind her, “expands from her thighs and spread breast-lifting arms”. The image is joyful and welcoming.
The second stanza begins with the defacing of the girl’s face ,”she was slapped up”. The mood changes as the ugly reality resurfaces in symbolic, yet equally disturbing brutalization of the girl’s. The imagery becomes vulgar and pornographic, “huge tits”, as opposed to soft word “breasts” in the first stanza. The word class changes accordingly and becomes much stronger, “”a tuberous cock and balls” with a shocking effect on the audience.
The enjambment is used to continue into the third stanza, suggesting the continuous and repeated attacks, aggressively increased in stages therefore, implying that more than one culprit is responsible. This, in turn carries a connotation of a mob mentality that dominates in Prestatyn, a stark contrast to the suggested holiday paradise from the original poster. The poem closes with a familiar phrase,” too good for this world”, an analogy to “pearls before swines”. A gentile, clean, beautiful and helpless woman, an object of one’s desire brutalized and torn apart by the malevolence that really resides in Prestatyn, ending up as an offending image that had to be removed from public eye.
The poem concludes with a simple, bleak message, “Fight Cancer”. This alone could be symbolic, not just of reality by of the cancerous...
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