I'm doing some work on the simon armitage poem "quite simply topping up the brake fluid". I'm pretty sure each line has 11 syllables (less ambiguous if read in a Yorkshire accent) - is there a particular name for this?
Also, I'm quite puzzled as to where the poem is set - the first four stanzas make me think that the woman is getting help over the phone, whereas the last two make it seem like they are actually in the garage but the mechanic is making her do the work herself.
Poem pasted below for your info, thanks.
Yes, love, thatís why the warning light comes on. Donít
panic. Fetch some universal brake-fluid
and a five-eights screwdriver from your toolkit
then prop the bonnet open. Go on, it wonít
eat you. Now, without slicing through the fan-belt
try and slide the sharp end of the screwdriver
under the lid and push the spade connector
through its bed, go on, thatís it. Now youíre all right
to unscrew, no, clockwise, you see itís Russian
love, back to front, thatís it. You see, itís empty.
Now, gently with your hand and I mean gently,
try and create a bit of space by pushing
the float-chamber sideways so thereís room to pour,
gently does it, thatís it. Try not to spill it, itís
corrosive: rusts, you know, and fill it till itís
level with the notch on the clutch reservoir.
Lovely. Thereís some Swarfega in the office
if you want a wash and some soft roll above
the cistern for, you know. Oh donít mind him, love,
he doesnít bite. Come here and sit down Prince. Prince!
Now, whereís that bloody alternator? Managed?
Oh any time, love. Iíll not charge you for that
because itís nothing of a job. If you want
us again weíre in the book. Tell your husband.
Lines are not usually measured by syllables, but by metrical feet, and this piece seems to be in roughly iambic pentameter (u/u/u/u/u/ or short-long five times), more or less. But then I am not much into modern verse.
To me, the setting of the entire poem seems to be the garage, where the mechanic is giving her directions-- judging from his comments, he must be seeing what she is doing.