English Literature





How does the poet use texture to convey different places in ‘Climbing My Grandfather’?

2 years ago


1 Reply




Dalton Gislason

1 Answer

Charmaine Munro

'Climbing My Grandfather' is a poem written by Andrew Waterhouse and it is written in the first-person perspective from a child's point of view. It is written in 27 verses of more or less equal length, with no stanzas, which adds to the sense of solidity to the mountain and the grandfather. There is no rhythm or rhyme and the poet uses enjambment, which further adds to the sense of an ongoing action taking place, in this case it is the young poet climbing up his grandfather.

Waterhouse uses extended metaphor and describes how a child regards grownups as as being big and strong, in this case, like a mountain. The poet uses texture to add substance and imagery to the poem thus giving the reader a multi-sensory view of his grandfather. The 'old brogues' are 'dusty and cracked' giving the idea that they resemble the texture at the foot of the mountain. The hands are 'earth-stained' and 'The nails are splintered', which add to the overall image of a craggy mountain. By contrast, the skin of his finger is 'smooth' and on the arm he comes across the 'glassy ridge' of a scar on his face which gives the reader a very clear image of the way an old scar looks: smooth in the middle but it can feel bumpy at the edges where the skin does not heal properly. Similarly, when climbing up a mountain, one might come across sections of the mountain face that are smooth and slippery.

The grandfather's shoulders are still 'firm' and strong and, further down the poem, there is a reference to 'his thick hair' however, on the neck he has 'loose skin' which adds a sense of frailty in contrast with the old man's shoulders. Further reference to the grandfather's old age are the 'screed cheek' and the 'wrinkles, well-spaced and easy' on the forehead.

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