Two Poems About City Life by Liz Lochead

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  • Topic: Laundry, Wandering Jew, Washing machine
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  • Published : April 17, 2008
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Two poems about city life by Liz Lochead

Liz Lochead has written two poems about city life, one being Laundrette which is set in an area of Bristol which is full of bedsits, meant for students just renting. The other poem is George Square which is set in the business district in Glasgow. As the first poem mentioned, Laundrette has a subtle start as it says ‘We sit nebulous in steam’ (nebulous meaning hazy or vague). You could almost have a debate on all the possible places that you ‘sit nebulous in steam’. Through the whole of laundrette it never uses the word laundrette except of course in the title. Quite on the opposite, George Square starts off straight and plain by saying ‘George Square’. This throws the location to a square in a town or city with a square named George Square. After the first line both poems start explaining all about everything said in the first line. George Square uses ‘idleness, an island’. This could have two meanings, the first and simple one being that everything is calm and slowed down, and that the square is an island of green grass and trees in the middle of a sea of grey concrete, bricks and cement. The other meaning which isn’t quite as obvious is that going to George Square, which would be at lunch time is an idle island in their hard working day at the office. Another bit with two meanings in George Square is when it says ‘we know no earth or roots’. The obvious meaning is that there is no earth or roots in a physical sense like there’s just concrete with no earth around. The other less obvious meaning is that no one has any history or ‘roots’ and no real ground to stay on or ‘earth’. Laundrette, like George Square also has a bit with two meanings as it says ‘rippling the hinterlands big houses to a blur of bedsits – not a patch on what they were before’. The first meaning here would be that all the grand nice houses have turned into bedsits so they’re ‘not a patch on what they were before’. The other would be that all the...
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