Intermediate 2 – Essay-writing – Ideas from class

Choose a poem which creates an atmosphere of sadness, pity, or loss.

Show how the poet creates the atmosphere and what effect it has on your response to the subject matter of the poem.


Name of text – “Mother, any distance”

Writer – Simon Armitage
Date – 1993
Gist – A boy moving out and his mother’s difficulty in letting go
Intention – Look at atmosphere of loss created by the poet


Section 1 – Where does this atmosphere of loss come from?

 · The mother’s reluctance to let go

· ““Anchor. Kite.”
· Metaphor – Shows the idea that the mother grounds the boy. But when he leaves she will no longer be connected.

· The connection between mother and son almost breaking
·  “you at the zero end, me with the spool of tape… unreeling years between us”
· Literally – she is helping to measure the rooms.
· Metaphorically – the connection between the two is stretching.
· The “years” show the increasing age of the son as he gets further away from his mother.

 · The son’s desire to go out on his own

· “I reach towards a hatch which opens on an endless sky”
· Literally, the son is exploring the loft
· Metaphorically, he is emerging into something new and exciting
· Like the kite, he has lost the anchor and now soars up into the unknown

 · The emptiness of the house he is moving into

· “I space-walk” – suggests the vast emptiness
· “empty bedrooms” – As yet unfurnished – unhomely
· “acres of walls” – So empty they appear larger than they are – hyperbole to exaggerate the emptiness

 Section 2 –

What effect does the atmosphere have on the reader?

 * Message that sons must leave home to test themselves

“To fall or fly” – Metaphor – Must try to be independent, even if he risks failing
“Something has to give” – The relationship has reached a point where a break must occur

 Mothers will always find it difficult to let them go – maternal instinct

“You come to help me measure windows, pelmets, doors” – The mother is keen to make herself useful to him – the list shows the many things she helps with
“Requires a second pair of hands” – “requires” indicates something that is needed


· Mother is reluctant to let go of her son
· The son feels he must break the bond
· The writer uses various techniques to make the reader feel the sadness of this break in the relationship

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s