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Appreciation of a the Poem ‘Hide and Seek’

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The poem Hide and Seek was written by Vernon Scannell, it is about a little boy and some of his friends playing a game of ‘Hide and Seek’. As we read through the poem we see it through the eyes of the little boy and he shows how to achieve a victory. In his opinion winning this will be the greatest thing ever and he is confident on his method to triumph. Near the beginning we see how he hides himself, and he recites the things he must do to ensure his win. As he poem proceeds on so does time and by the end of it his positioning in his hiding spot becomes a burden, and as he leaves his hiding place he realises that everyone has gone home and left him. For him the victory is not as great as expected and the game and outcome didn’t go as perfectly as wanted and expected.

Vernon Scannell makes good use of the sense to bring out the excitement children experience whenever playing this game, which makes us reminisce about our childhood days. He gives us a clear picture, ensuring that the reader remembers their own days of fun and that we, alongside the boy, experience his game. Scannell uses the second person, so therefore combining the use of the second person and recalling our childhood, it gives a clear and vivid image of the game of ‘hide and seek’ played by the boy. There are two tones used in the poem- a childlike opinion and a bleak, adult view and in both views we can see, what they boy sees and smell and hear giving an extremely vivid picture. He uses lots of adjectives:

‘The dark damp smell of sand moves in your throat’
‘Your legs are stiff, the cold bites through your coat’ These specific details help us to visualise the situation the boy is in. A use of simile’s also increase the vivid image.
‘Sacks in the tool shed smell like the seaside
The first two lines show us the structure of the game and the alliteration of the letter ‘C’ multiple times through the poem; this accentuates the boy’s eagerness, ad starting the poem off with an enthusiastic and exciting feeling. The letter‘d’ is repeated on the eleventh line to emphasise the urgency and excitement experienced by the boy. The list of things the boy does puts us in the frame of mind of his determination of winning as if he has already made the mistakes before and has lost. The short, snappy sentences such as:

‘Don’t breathe. Don’t move. Stay dumb. Hide in your blindness’ These short sentences, remind me as a reader of me when I used to play. As I used to make sure that I should conceal myself, to make sure no one can see this. This is an effective portrayal of what children do to guarantee their win., even though these things put you in pain, for him it is so important, he curls himself up in a smelly, cold, full shed, just for a mere, meaningless win. The snappy sentences show as if he is ticking of things from a checklist, and emphasis of the importance of the actions. Scannell shows us that for this boy winning this game is the most important thing in the world but we can see that in the end it is just the game and it doesn’t give us a positive outcome in life. This poem is also seen as a life lesson as the actual playing of the game is the fun times of life but in the end we will be alone and there will be sad times, giving the little boy an accurate, realistic view of adult life. Although this poem is basically about childhood recollections, a moral can still be learnt from it: namely that in life, when success seems to be within easy reach, we should not allow ourselves to feel too over-confident as we might end up losing all and feeling bitterly disappointed, which is what, is experienced by the little boy.

The last three lines are written from a bleak, adult point of view, by using more sophisticated language and different structures of the sentences. These help us identify between the different point of view on life from two different types of people. In my opinion this poem is very effective on showing the point of view of a child and what they experience as a child when playing childhood games. The short, snappy sentences bring me back to the day when I used to play and used to follow through these things to ensure a definite win.

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