Student Question

Does "Filling Station" create vivid images, as per the statement "Good poetry creates vivid images in our minds?"

Expert Answers

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Good poetry can create vivid images in your mind. However, poetry does not necessarily have to create vivid imagery in order to be considered "good." The strength of a poem can lie in its prosody, form, theme, sounds, feelings evoked, and so on. 

But to the point of your question, "Filling Station" does rely on vivid, detailed imagery to effectively communicate an image, and thereby communicates a larger statement about observation. 

The first five stanzas detail the speaker's assessment that the filling station has a very dirty, although lived in, appearance. But in the last stanza and final two lines, the speaker notes that, despite this filthy facade, there is also evidence that "someone" has shown a nurturing touch on the filling station. The conclusion that "someone loves us all" presumably refers to the mother of the family. The evidence for this conclusion does not emerge with the presence of the mother; she remains absent. The evidence comes from the details of the speaker's observations (the imagery). 

Somebody embroidered the doily.
Somebody waters the plant,
or oils it, maybe. Somebody
arranges the rows of cans
so that they softly say:

In the last part of the poem, the speaker uses the visual evidence of the mother's nurture to consider that every person is cared for. And that care can be seen in similar, seemingly trivial ways. This is all done through imagery. 

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