In the poem 'Glasgow 5 March 1971' by Edwin Morgan, the poet uses his language skills to cleverly portray a message about the violence, about Glasgow life and about how people often choose to ignore scenes such as what this poem describes. The poem begins with an innocent young couple being falling through a shop window on Sauchiehall Street. The poem goes into great detail, describing how they were falling, the damage the glass had done and the expressions on their faces. Morgan then goes on to describe the two youths who committed this heinous act.
The poem gave details of the youths faces during this vicious attack, which happened to show no emotion what-so-ever. Finally, we are informed of two people who were driving past, who chose to keep their eyes on the road instead of getting involved and trying to help this young couple, who at this point will be desperately needing all the help they can get. To emphasize the incident Morgan uses many key words and phrases, such as the harsh sounding words used at the beginning of the poem. When the boy and girl are falling through the glass we are informed that the glass is "ragged" and that it "shattered" when they were pushed through it. By using the word shattered Morgan indicates that not only has the glass from the window shattered but the young couples lives and hopes have been shattered too. Another harsh sounding word Morgan used was bristling.
"The young man's face is bristling with fragments of glass." With use of this word, the poet gives us the impression that the fragments of glass have become like a beard on the man's face. This is excellent word choice as it helps us imagine the incident in greater detail. The poet also describes this attack by informing us that the girl had on a "wet-look white coat." Morgan's description of the girls coat might have two meanings as we do not know if her coat is wet-look just because of the style, or because there is blood on the coat. This makes the attack seem more gruesome.
During the poem Morgan informs us that the couple's faces showed "surprise" and "shock" and showed only the "beginning of pain." These descriptions let us know that although the attack is over, the young couple have only begun to feel the pain. Now the couple are done with, Morgan tells us that the youths are "about to complete the operation." This suggests that this assault was planned that the job is almost finished. The youths are now reaching into the shop to steal what they could "smartly." This word can suggest a number of things. Smart can mean this was done intelligently and also quickly. It can also mean that something hurts, which may be referring back to the innocent couple. Then we are told that "their faces show no expression." The youth's blank faces highlight their total disregard for other people's lives Finally Morgan goes on to describe the two drivers in the background who witness the attack.
"It is a sharp clear night." Use of the word sharp refers back to the broken window, and clear in forms us that the drivers could easily see the attack happening. "In the background two drivers keep their eyes on the road." This shows the ignorance of some people who, instead of helping people in need, decide to ignore the things which they do not want to see. In this poem, Morgan uses an unusual technique where he looks at the poem as a series of photographs. Each photograph is described in great detail and each show an event of this attack. The first photo described in the poem is of the couple falling through the window, bracing themselves for impact. Next is a picture of the youths that pushed the innocent couple, looting the shop from the window that the couple were pushed through.
The last photograph features two drivers passing by who decided to ignore this sickening offence. Morgan has cleverly included several themes in this poem, one of which is violence. Around this time Glasgow was a very violent place and this is reflected through the poet's description of this appalling crime which he may have witnessed. What makes this evil act worse is the fact that the innocent couple appear to be picked at random. This leads me to another theme of uncaring attitudes. It would take a cruel, heartless and probably desperate person to execute such a brutal attack and by Morgan's description of the youth's faces which "show no expression", these criminals fit the bill.
The last theme I found in the poem was that of people not wanting to get involved. I am sure the drivers in this poem had their reasons for not getting involved, possibly fear or maybe that they just do not care, but whatever it is they cannot be criticized too much because I would bet that the majority of people in their position would do the exact same thing since this is just human nature. In conclusion, I feel that this poem is very interesting and also intelligent as the many themes teach us numerous lessons. One of these lessons is to not ignore what we do not wish to see. I really enjoyed reading this poem and I hope that in the future no-one relives the events of Glasgow 5 March 1971.