Strawberries - Edwin Morgan


Scottish Higher/Advanced Higher Higher English (Strawberries) Note on Strawberries - Edwin Morgan, created by Heather Taylor on 09/05/2013.
Heather Taylor
Note by Heather Taylor, updated more than 1 year ago
Heather Taylor
Created by Heather Taylor about 11 years ago

Resource summary

Page 1

There were never strawberrieslike the ones we hadthat sultry afternoonsitting on the stepof the open french windowfacing each otheryour knees held in minethe blue plates in our lapsthe strawberries glisteningin the hot sunlightwe dipped them in sugarlooking at each othernot hurrying the feastfor one to comethe empty plateslaid on the stone togetherwith the two forks crossedand I bent towards yousweet in that airin my armsabandoned like a childfrom your eager mouththe taste of strawberriesin my memorylean back againlet me love youlet the sun beaton our forgetfulnessone hour of allthe heat intenseand summer lightningon the Kilpatrick hillslet the storm wash the plates

Contrast: the speaker compares the strawberries that he ate on this occasion with all those he had eaten before. “never” shows how unique / memorable this particular experience was. The strawberries are memorable not only for their taste but the strong feelings / happy memories associated with eating them.

Word Choice: “sultry” suggests heat / humidity. In this case, it represents passion / love of the encounter. The speaker is not only recreating the atmosphere of a sunny day, but also the vivid feelings of the occasion.

Imagery: the picture is of two people who are interlocked / completely attached. Figuratively, it suggests the intimacy of the couple.

Word choice: “glistening” suggests something shining / beautiful or even precious. The experience is remember fondly as one that was perfect and beautiful.

Word Choice: “hot” (as with “sultry”) suggests passion / strong feelings

Imagery: as with “facing” each other, the position of the pair is intimate and open. Just as the poem has no “constrictions” of rhyme and punctuation, so too the lovers are completely open / uninhibited.

Imagery: the speaker returns to the intimacy explored earlier when “your knees held mine”. The crossed forks symbolise the closeness of the two lovers.

Word choice: “feast” suggests something wholly satisfying / delicious. The feast is the moment / the feelings associated with the experience: the strength of the passion.

Imagery: the speaker may be referring to the strawberries, himself or the lover. Sweetness may represent the intimacy of the couple as well as their affection.

Imagery: the intimacy is portrayed yet again. The figures are very close / feel secure together.

Simile: the comparison of the lover (or the speaker) to a child suggests the tender way that the speaker holds them. This also evokes images of carefree youth / innocence.

Word choice: “eager” suggests a willingness / desire. The appropriateness of the earlier references to a “sultry” and “hot” day becomes obvious: this was a passionate encounter.

Sentence structure: the instruction followed by the request fits nicely with the intimacy suggested by the interlinked legs and crossed forks.

Word choice: This links with “sultry” and “hot” used earlier in the poem. The experience was a loving / passionate one.

Symbolism: the dramatic image reflects the fiery passion of the scene. The “summer lightning” suggests the electricity associated with such strong feelings. 

Symbolism: the storm (as with the summer lightning) represents the powerful emotions explored throughout the poem. This links with the theme of love.

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