Poetry

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lordwonga

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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, that’s why the warning light comes on. Don’t
panic. Fetch some universal brake-fluid
and a five-eights screwdriver from your toolkit
then prop the bonnet open. Go on, it won’t

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, that’s it. Now you’re all right

to unscrew, no, clockwise, you see it’s Russian
love, back to front, that’s it. You see, it’s empty.
Now, gently with your hand and I mean gently,
try and create a bit of space by pushing

the float-chamber sideways so there’s room to pour,
gently does it, that’s it. Try not to spill it, it’s
corrosive: rusts, you know, and fill it till it’s
level with the notch on the clutch reservoir.

Lovely. There’s some Swarfega in the office
if you want a wash and some soft roll above
the cistern for, you know. Oh don’t mind him, love,
he doesn’t bite. Come here and sit down Prince. Prince!

Now, where’s that bloody alternator? Managed?
Oh any time, love. I’ll not charge you for that
because it’s nothing of a job. If you want
us again we’re in the book. Tell your husband.
 

Mister Micawber

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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.
 
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