Oh, but it is dirty! --this little filling station, Oil soaked, oil permeated To a disturbing, over all Black translucency. Be careful with that match! Father wears a dirty, Oil soaked monkey suitThat cuts him under the arms,And several quick and saucy And greasy sons assist him(its a family filling station), All quite thoroughly dirty. Do they live in the station? It has a cement porchBehind the pumps, and on itA set of crushed and grease- Impregnated wickerwork
● Some comic books provide The only note of colour-- Of certain colour. They lie Upon a big dim doily Draping a tabaret (part of the set), beside A big hirsute begonia. Why the extraneous plant? Why the taboret? Why, oh why, the doily? (embroidered in daisy stitch With marguerites, I think, And heavy with Grey crochet.)Somebody embroidered the doily. Somebody waters the plant, Or oils it, maybe. Somebody Arranges the rows of cans So that they softly say ESSO—SO—SO--SO To high-strung automobiles Somebody loves us all.
Short summary !● The poet begins in a judgemental tone. Her use of an exclamation mark highlights the startling nature of the all-encompassing filth, as does her repetition of the word dirty gets the message across.● The father wears a monkey suit that doesnt fit him anymore. This could possibly suggest the family may have a low income at the filling station.● They assist him. This depicts a loving relationship between the owner and the workers, suggesting they are father and sons, a family business.● Bishop describes the sons as being quick and saucy, this coneys that the sons are grown up. saucy meaning mature or rude jokes.● She notices some evidence of family, a set of wicker furniture on the porch and a dirty dog lying on the couch. She she describes the dog as being quite comfy.● Bishop now comes to notice some evidence of a womans figure being around even though you cant see her, a mother maybe. She notices the wicker work sofa, the doily, and the begonia. These suggest an element of a womans presence around the filling station.●
● The woman (we assume it is a woman) who tries to make this place a home. She may also be responsible for arranging the oil cans, watering the plant, the doily.● There is an interesting mix of styles in this poem: the relaxed conversational way in which Bishop warns us to be careful with that match and the description of the dog as quite comfy contrasts with her exact, poetic language at other times: the over-all black translucency● Bishop is first disgusted by the filth and dirt of the filling station but soon overcomes it and starts to see the beauty of its homely touch.● We link this emphasis of the woman presence being there, but not being able to see her, to Bishop. We start to see that Bishop is maybe trying to convey her feelings about her mother not being there!● somebody loves us all. This to me sounds like hope. Bishop has started the poem with negativity oh, but it is dirty! and ends the poem with hope. Bishop tends to do this through her poems, they might convey her emotions and feelings.
vocabulary● * oil permeated: soaked through with oil.● * translucency: shine/gloss.● * monkey suit: overalls.● *Doily: decorative cloth put under bowls to protect the table.● *taboret:small stool.● *hirsute: hairy● *begonia:flowering plant.● *extraneous: unnecessary.● *Daisy stitch: type of design in crochet.● *marguerites:daisies.