Throughout the poem, Dharker uses an extended metaphor, comparing life to tissue.
For example, she has described the tissue paper as ‘turned into skin’ which shows
how the idea behind the image of the tissue is that it will be interpreted as a living
thing by the reader. This is also shown in the line ‘trace a grand design’, which seems
to be used to show how life (Which the tissue is a metaphor for) is a complex and
beautiful thing, and this shows the reader Dharker’s message – the entire meaning
of the poem is that the reader will see that we should not try to last forever, like the
money or the buildings, but just live and not block or hurt anything, like the tissue.
Throughout the poem, the tissue is shown in a positive way whereas the buildings
and money are not.
The use of ‘well-used’ to describe the books and so the tissue is just one way
Dharker makes the tissue seempositive; ‘well-used’ items are usually good as
otherwise they would not be used. ‘Grand’ is used to describe the design made with
tissue also, and this has another, positive effect.
The structure of the poem is not completely regular, with four line stanzas that have
a varied rhythm and no rhyme scheme, but seems more so than irregular until the
final stanza. This stanza is one line long and this draws attention to it – so
emphasising the message by drawing attention to the relationship between the
tissue and life.
Enjambment is used at the end of lines which describe the problem of trying to
become permanent is one that (in the current situation) will not end soon. This is
shown in the way Dharker shows the problem going over two lines, showing how it
carries on. By doing this, she has made the problem easier to address as it becomes
more obvious that it is a problem.