Voices in Poetry

Read the following poem and trace its voice.

Whose is it?


Write your ideas and analysis in the commenting section below!

First Day at School

A millionbillionwillion miles from home

Waiting for the bell to go. (To go where?)
Why are they all so big, other children?
So noisy? So much at home they
Must have been born in uniform
Lived all their lives in playgrounds
Spent the years inventing games
That don’t let me in. Games
That are rough, that swallow you up.

And the railings.
All around, the railings.
Are they to keep out wolves and monsters?
Things that carry off and eat children?
Things you don’t take sweets from?
Perhaps they’re to stop us getting out
Running away from the lessins. Lessin.
What does a lessin look like?
Sounds small and slimy.
They keep them in the glassrooms.
Whole rooms made out of glass. Imagine.

I wish I could remember my name
Mummy said it would come in useful.
Like wellies. When there’s puddles.
Yellowwellies. I wish she was here.
I think my name is sewn on somewhere
Perhaps the teacher will read it for me.
Tea-cher. The one who makes the tea.

Roger McGough


24 comentarios en “Voices in Poetry

  1. In my opinion, the voice of the poem is a kid.
    This is express in different parts of it. for example, the voice uses words such as «millionbillionwillion» or «lessins». This words are written in an incorrect way, they show the lack of knowledge of the voice. Also the lessons, «lessins», are unknown for the voice. «what does a lessin look like?» The voice ask him self this question thinking that the lessons is a person. In addition to this, the voice repeat some new words to his language, «classroom» but he said them as they sound, «glassroom.»
    In conclusion, the voice of the poem is deffinitly a kid, and his feeling of begining the school and his lack of knoledge show clearly this.

  2. Hi Dani, reading this poem i realized how littel kids feel in this new world that is school. It was useful to me because i don’t remember that day when i was only three years old and my mother took me to school on my first day of classes. Also this poem teach me a lot about children vocabulary and the way they undersand things. It was very usefull to me to analize this poem di thank you.

  3. We reed the poem «The first day at school» in class, and we analyze deeply why the voice of the poem is an scared, anxious, lonely and small kid in his first experience at a school. The following class we started to prapare an essay that consisted in answering the following question, «How can you tell the voice in the poem, «First day at school», is a kid». We take the following notes to help us to make the essay: Before start writing the essay:-Ask yourself, what do i have to discuss in my text?.
    – Organize your ideas.
    – Read clearly the statement.
    – Structure your essay, with an introduction, a conclusion, and more than two or three paragraphs.
    Introduction: -Introduce question and topic.
    -Make hyphotesis about what you are going to discuss.
    – Focus on aspects of analysis, such as structure, tone and language.
    Development: -Make different paragraphs, but all focus on the topic sentence. Use quotations and explain them.
    – Make a deep analysis of the poem.
    – Explain your previous hyphotesis.
    – You can use conectors such as: «For example», «As it is expressed by the person», «Moreover», «Furthermore», etc.
    Conclusion: -Paraphrase your introduction.
    – Give your final conclusion and general idea of the essay.

    Regards, Juan

  4. The poem is in 1st person, is a monologue about a kid in his girst day at school. We know that ia a kid because his spelling mistakes and his vocabulary like: «mummy» referring at his mother or «glassroom» referring at thr classroom. He understood those things because the kid did not has that vocabulary incorporated.
    The tone of the kid is scared and anxious because al his school mates, did not let him enter to the game because he is too small. It is about his «smallness.»
    The kid’s feelings are terrified and loneliness saying that he was far from home saying that he was «A Millonbillonwillon miles from home.» And wants his mummy to be with him because he is uncomfortable, and he feels that he is in danger.

  5. feelings
    scared -“noise”
    -emphasis on his “smallness”
    lonly: no sense of belonging
    “then don`t let me in”
    anxious: “waiting”
    in doubt “to go where”
    a kid on his first day at school.
    . “my name is sewn”
    .”i wish i could remember my name”
    . “mummy”
    . “millionbillonwillon” hyperbole
    . questions
    . pronunsicition difficulty
    . lexical
    scared/ fritened/ terrified
    type of poem
    like a monologue
    1 person
    focus on feelings and thoughts

  6. First of all I would like to say that this is an unexperienced boy which doesn’t know what school is about. Words such as «monsters», «glasroom», «tea-chers » show the reader that he is scared and definitly doesn’t know about school. In addition he makes focus on his smallness» which also give us an idea of insecurity and shyness.

    Something intresting about this poem is that it is written in first person. The boy is «talking to himself» may be yo calm himself or trying not to feel so alone in this «new world» for him. The poem is a monologue.

  7. Firstly, I would like to highlight the fact that the poem is a monologue. Consequently, the voice expreses his feelings and toughts about his «First Day at school».

    The voice’s feelings are clear; he is terrified. The fact that terrifies him is not only one, they are several. For example the rough games played by the big kids, the sense of not belonging («They don’t let me in»), his smallness compared to the other kids. As every ordinary kid at his first day at school, the kid is frightened because of the fact he does not know.

    Moreover, a common question we do to ourselves at the time of reading a poem is «who is the voice?». Well, we can say that this poem’s voice is an innocent boy who is at his first day at school. He is trying to make sense in a new world which is unkown to him. Furthermore what we can highlight from the voice are his pronunciation mistakes. As he does not know some words, he replaces them with the ones he does. This shows his innocence.


  8. Danny,
    In my opinion, the voice of the poem is clearly a child who is frightened about starting school. WIth quotations like «Millionbillionwillion» the reader can imagine that a kid is the voice. Moreover, pronuciation difficulty and lexical mistakes are also present in the poem like «glassroom» and «tea cher». another characteristic present in the voice is the lonelyness. This is reflected in the peom it says «They don´t let me in». this quote provides us a sense of no belonging.
    Furthermore, the voice is scared and this may be justified as he talks about «monsters». this give the reader an idea of innocence towards the kid.

  9. This voice of the poem is from a little inexperience child who had never attended to school. He feels scared, confused and lonely. He isn’t just too little than he miss mother, but also he is too nervous he couldn’t even remember his name.
    We also can perceive he is trying to make sense of this new world he is confronting to, and to comfort himself by assimilating the words he doesn’t understand to one he does.
    This poem is a 1st person monologue.

  10. Feelings:
    -Scared: ‘noisy’, ‘big’, ‘rough’, emphasis on smallness ‘why are they so big?’
    -Lonely: no sense of belonging ‘they don’t let me in’.
    -Anxious: ‘waiting’.
    -In doubt: ‘to go where?’

    Voice, A kid on his first day at school:
    -‘My name is sewn…’
    -‘I wish I could remember my name’.
    -‘Millionbillionwillion’ (hyperbole).
    -Pronunciation difficulties, ‘lessin’, ‘glassroom’, ‘tea-cher’.

    Type of Poem: 1st person narrator, monologue.

    ‘Lessin’, ‘small and slimy’: Alliteration.

  11. The poem shows the ignorance and anxieties of a child during his first day in school. It avoids the use of poetic techniques to make clear that the voice of the poem is from a child. As children dont have so much knowledge in writing, the writer use words as «glassroom» or «lessins» expresing the child’s innocence.

  12. The voice is a naive young boy/girl on his/her first day at school and how he/she doesn’t know were he is. He/She associates things he/she heard about school with things that make sense to him/her «classroom. Whole rooms made out of glass.» instead of classroom.

  13. To begin with, the voice of the poem is a kid at first day of school, trying to make sense of a new world and to comfort himself. As the poem has a 1st person narrator, it focuses on the feeling and thoughts of this kid.
    The quotes «i wish i could remember my name» and «mummy» are from a little nervous boy. The hyperbole «millionbillionwillion» exemplifies that he is young, he exaggerates things.
    The age of the voice is also highlighted in his lexual and pronunciation difficulties, «lessin»,»glassroom»,»tea-cher». The alteration «s» is common among kids, usually they associate concepts by the sound.
    In addition, The smallness of the lyrical voice is shown by his thoughts about the the older boys, «why are they so big». He feels lonely «they don’t let me in», he has no sense of belonging. Old boys feel at home, «born in uniforms», but he needs his mummy to be comfortable.
    The voice is scared, as these words show, «noisy», «monsters» and «rough». There is emphasis on his smallness, he is anxious «waiting for the bell» and in doubt, «to go where?».
    For all these reasons, the voice of the poem is the one of innocence and inexperience (not knowing).

  14. First of all, the voice of the poem is the one of innocense, its a kid at his first day of school.

    The age of the voice is revealed as he feels scared( «noisy», «big», «rough»), lonely, he has no sense of belonging («they don’t let me in»), anxious («waiting») and in doubt («to go where»).

    The kid is young, so he has pronunciation difficulties, he calls a lesson, a «lessin» and a classroom, «glassroom».

    His memory is not good, as he is small, » i wish i could remember my name». also, the way he needs his «mummy» to help him and feel at home is typical among kids. As a normal young boy he exagerates «millinbllionwillion».

    To conclude, as the story is in first person, the whole poem focuses on the thought and feeling of this small kid who is facing his first day at school. During the poem his smallness is highlighted.

  15. I believe the voice of this poem belongs to a little kid who has never experienced the feeling of attending school for the first time. He feels out of place, he misses the confort of his home and the security his mother offered him. He fears those who seem so used to school, those who seem not afraid, those that have been trough this before. This kid is so terrified he forgets how to speak properly, this explains why there are made up words throughout the poem.

  16. The voice in the poem is the one of a little kid who is in his first day of school.We can perceive the voice is the one of a young child due to words and phrases such as ‘millionbillionwillion’ or ‘glassrooms’. The grammar mistakes of the child portray to us how old he was and how little experience he had.

    The poem itself narrates to us the first day of a boy who feels lost and lonely in a place completely crowded and mysterious to him. The tone of the speaker conveys how threatened he felt by the other kids and how he felt insignificant compared to this big and noisy children.

  17. «First Day At School»

    innocence/inexpierence frightened/scared: .»monsters»
    1st person .»noisy»
    similar to a monologue .»big»
    a kid on his first day .»rough»
    at school trying to make .emphasis on this «smallness» sense of a new world .»swallow you up» «my name is sewn…» lonely: .no sense of belonging
    «i wish i could remember .»they don’t let me in»
    my name» anxious: .»waiting»
    «mummy» in doubt: . » to go where?»
    pronunciation difficulty
    «lessin» , «glassroom»
    lexical difficulty
    «lessin» , «tea-cher»

    • “First Day At School”

      1st person
      similar to a monologue
      a kid on his first day
      at school trying to make
      sense of a new world «my name is sewn…»
      «i wish i could remember
      my name»
      pronunciation difficulty
      «lessin» , «glassroom»
      lexical difficulty
      «lessin» , «tea-cher»


      frightened/scared: .»monsters»
      .emphasis on this «smallness»
      lonely: .no sense of belonging
      .»they don’t let me in»
      anxious: .»waiting»
      in doubt: . » to go where?»

  18. Analysis of the poem.
    The voice’s feelings:
    The voice feels scared, we can feel this because of the words and expressions he/she uses. «Monsters» «big» «noisy» «rough» «why are they all so big?». The voice also feels lonely, because as its the first day and he is new in primary school he does not understand anything. «Don’t let me in» » to go where?».
    The tone of the poem is Scary, Inoccent, anxious.
    type of poem:
    This poem is a Monolog, 1st person narrator.
    The voice:
    We can realize that the voice is a kid because of the words and expressions for example «mommy» or «millionbillionwillion», also because he confuses the words like instead of Lesson he says «lessin» and «Glassroom».

  19. The tone/ feelings of the voice in this poem are frightened and terrifyied. We can realize about this because of his emphasis on his «smallnes» («why are they all so big»). Also the quotes, «big», «noisy» and «rough»(games) help. The voice feels lonely, with no sense of belonging («they don’t let me in»), anxious («waiting») and in doubt («to go where?»)
    Also we can tell the voice is a kid on his first day at school by the following quotes, «mummy», «I whish i could remember my name» and his pronunciation difficulty, «lessin», «glassroom».
    This kid is unexperienced and inocent.

  20. Good evening Daniela. In the following, I will convey my thoughts as to how I concluded the voice of the poem «First day at School».

    The voice of this poem is a Kid. A clear indication of such, is the word use, some one inexperienced.
    «Are they to keep out wolves & monsters?».
    «I think my name is sewn somewhere». This frase evidences an infant’s thoughts, since it is common for them to have their names sewn on their chothings, on their uniforms.
    The voice also shows to have a wide imagination, this is due to lack of information.’Glass room’ » Whole rooms made of glass,imagine.»
    Us readers get clues as to the childs (Or better said,toddlers) age, as somewhere between 4 to 7 years old, he sees every external od unknown object as huge » Amillionbillionwillion miles», he also sees the other, older kids as «so big» and «tough»

  21. Hello, Dani!.
    About your question, I would definitely say that the voice is a little, terrified kid in his first day of school.
    He knows nothing about it; it´s a completely new scenario for him. We can notice this due to the use of hiperbole, which not only exaggerates certain details like the distance between his house and school, but also emphasizes his «smallness» next to the other «wolves and monsters».
    We could also point out how the writer properly transmits this feeling of anxiety. The kid is in continuous doubt; «to go where?» «why are they all so big?».
    Finally, his effort on analysing every detail about this new place makes the reader realize that he is actually doing an internal monologue with the aim of comforting himself, so the poem is written in first person narrator.

    Best regards, Clara.

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