Please help me understand the poem called "my busconductor."I find it difficult to understand the poem "my busconductor", here is the poem: My busconductor tells mehe only has one kidneyand that...

Please help me understand the poem called "my busconductor."

I find it difficult to understand the poem "my busconductor", here is the poem:

My busconductor tells me
he only has one kidney
and that may soon go on strike
through overwork.
Each busticket
takes on now a different shape
and texture.
He holds a ninepenny single
as if it were a rose
and puts the shilling in his bag
as a child into a gasmeter
His thin lips
have no quips
for fat factorygirls
and he ignores
the drunk who snores
and the oldman who talks to himself
and gets of at the wrong stop.
He goes gently to the bedroom
of the bus to collect
and watch familiar shops and pubs passby
(perhaps for the last time?)
The same old streets look different now
more distinct
as through new glasses.
And the sky
was it ever so blue?
And all the time
deepdown in the deserted busshelter of his mind
he thinks about his journey nearly done.
One day he'll clock on and never clock off
or clock off and never clock on.

please tell me if you understand anything from the poem, thank you

 

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jmj616 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

"My Bus Conductor" is a poem by Roger McGough, a contemporary poet who first gained recognition through a book called The Mersey Sound, in 1967.

The poem is about a bus conductor (in America we would call him a "bus driver") who knows that he will not live much longer due to a diseased kidney. 

Because he knows that his days are numbered, he begins to value small, everyday objects:

Each bus ticket
takes on now a different shape
and texture.
He holds a ninepenny single
as if it were a rose.

His behavior toward other people also changes.  He no longer flirts with female passengers, and he is more understanding of the poor and downtrodden:

His thin lips
have no quips
for fat factory girls
and he ignores
the drunk who snores
and the oldman who talks to himself.

Now that he is about to leave the world, everything looks different to him:

The same old streets look different now
more distinct
as through new glasses.
And the sky
was it ever so blue?

In summary, the poem is about people who look at the world differently when they know they will soon be leaving it.  Perhaps it is asking us to try to look at the world differently even if we think we still have a long time left to live.

 

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