Trio – a Poem Which Deals with a Happy Experience


???Trio??™ is a seasonal, life-affirming poem that recounts a moment in eternity caught in the gleam of the poet, Edwin Morgan??™s eye. He transforms the mundane experience, of returning home after a day??™s Christmas shopping, into something significant. The trio are changed into all that is good in the world, expressing a clear message – through love even the most everyday activities can become something to be cherished.

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From the outset, Morgan makes his central theme obvious to the reader and we are encouraged to share in his curiosity and attentiveness. The first indication of the theme is in the title; ???Trio??? has connotations that include togetherness, because we associate a trio with a close group of friends. Moreover, ???trio??™ is significant because it has a musical angle to it that ???three??™ would not possess, immediately establishing an upbeat mood. These associations convey to the reader that love has the power to transform. Morgan establishes where and when the poem is set almost immediately:
???Coming up Buchanan Street, quickly, on a sharp winter evening???
Here, the bustling street conjures up the nostalgia of Christmas shopping. The use of the present participle; ???Coming up???, suggests pace and immediacy and the parenthetical inclusion of the word ???quickly??? further confirms this suggestion. It connotes drive, vigour and youthfulness which, in turn, relate to the setting. It also represents the pace with which the trio is banishing the dark, how rapidly good can triumph over evil. The poet??™s use of; ???a sharp winter evening??? is important in developing our understanding of the poem. In particular, the word ???sharp??? further details the scene, implying that not only is it cold and brisk outside, but that Morgan is seeing everything with real precision.

The introduction of the ???trio??™ from the title; ???a young man and two girls???, signifies the togetherness they possess, standing in line, as crowds part for them. They are introduced; ???under the Christmas lights??? which shows that Morgan had a moment of blinding clarity in which he has seen them for what they truly are. They have been momentarily illuminated for him. Through this insight Morgan has captured every detail of the three, each carrying something in their arms. The young man holds a guitar, one girl a Chihuahua and the other a baby, each are precious to the beholder and they could be viewed as an analogy to the three wise men. The baby; ???in its white shawl is all bright eyes and mouth like favours???, a representation of the innocence of children, and the most important child at Christmas: Jesus. The fact the shawl is white, connotes purity and virtue and the simile used, ???mouth like favours???, further personifies this, making the reader envisage the baby like a work of art. The Chihuahua symbolises animals and nature, in its; ???Royal Stewart tartan coat like a teapot holder???. This striking use of imagery conveys a sense of Christmas spirit to the reader. The traditional colours, red and green, dress the dog and its warmth is obvious in the reference to a ???teapot holder??™. The third gift, a guitar, represents the heavenly gift of music and the way in which music can transform the quality of human life by altering the mood. It also has a deeper meaning, symbolising Mary: ???it swells out under its milky plastic cover???. The word choice here, ???milky??? and ???swells??? convey the swelling of a pregnant woman??™s stomach and the milk a woman produces for her newborn. The trio give off a glow that reflects the changeless quality of human fulfilment.

Morgan??™s exploitation of metaphor effectively conveys the radiant force of love:
???Their breath rises in a cloud of happiness???
This simple description of breathing evokes a sense of contentment and happiness from within the reader. ???Rises??? gives the impression that the trio have abandoned their inhibitions and are experiencing joy and pleasure. It symbolises life at its best, uplifting. The ???cloud of happiness??? shows that the trio are filled with goodness from inside yet, the elusiveness of happiness is also made clear. Although the cloud may seem thick and resilient, in fact it is hazy and fragile. In one outburst Morgan establishes how overwhelmed he is by the intensity of his situation:
???Orphean spring! Melting baby! Warm chihuahua!???
The use of several exclamation marks within the short sentences conveys his strong feelings towards these three things. It gives the impression Morgan has had a rush in passion, resulting in all his emotions being thrown at the reader. The Orphean sprig refers to the early music of Orpheus whose playing had the power to drive back the wild destructive forces of darkness. So too, do the trio embody this power, the ability to dive back all the darkness, bitterness and hardship that surround them.

Morgan??™s theme that good can triumph over evil is continued in more of his skilful imagery:
???Monsters of the year go blank, are scattered back, can??™t bear this march of three???
This is very striking, in that it conveys the sheer force at which the trio dispel all evil. The monsters represent all that is bad in the world and the ???trio??™, so full of love and energy, can banish these demons because they have the quality of being able to love. The use of the word ???march??? denotes the image of soldiers who are disciplined and have absolute belief in their cause. The reader can picture the trio, like soldiers, striding down Buchanan Street in unity, each filled with anticipation of good times.

Morgan then diffuses the bold and empowering image he had created:
???-And the three have passed, vanished in the crowd???
The dash gives the impression that the moment of reflection Morgan has had, made him abruptly lose sight of the trio. The idea that they could vanish so easily gives them a lesser sense of importance in the reader??™s mind because they can blend in with so many others. Yet it conveys the idea that everyone, everywhere, can aspire to be all the trio are. Morgan immediately follows this comment up saying: ???yet they are not gone???. I think that Morgan meant the essence and spirit of the trio remained, long after they had departed from the street. It also reinforces the point that others should assume their role. As a last thought, he states that the laughter was ???ringing them round like a guard???. This phrase symbolises that true, unguarded love and happiness will act as a barrier to keep evil and misery out, just as Christmas does.

To conclude, ???Trio??™ was an excellent poem that left me with a true sense of contentedness. The poem is finished with the line; ???at the end of this winter??™s day??? which further personifies this, leaving a note of finality and a sense that all is as it should be if this trio could exist.