Trio In Trio, Morgan describes a scene on a city centre street in Glasgow on a winter’s evening. A trio of people (each carrying an object) is used to examine joy and goodwill. Overview Buchanan Street at Christmas in 1967 In Trio, Morgan describes a scene on a city centre street in Glasgow on a winter’s evening. A trio of people (each carrying an object) are used to examine joy and goodwill. The happy group, and the items they carry, symbolise happiness and hope and a contrast is created between the cold weather and the inviting, seductive warmth of the trio’s friendship. The poet uses positive images to describe the group and the items and finishes the poem with a description of the lasting impression left by the group. Lines 1 - 14 The first eight lines establish the setting in a well known street in Glasgow. The present tense is use to allow us to feel as though we are witnessing the events with the speaker. The speaker describes the cold evening, the trio of people and lists the items they carry (a guitar, a baby and a chihuahua). A comparison is invited between the trio and the three wise men, who brought gifts to celebrate and honour the birth of Jesus. These three also carry gifts - the guitar represents the gift of giving that we so associate with Christmas, while the baby represents Jesus and the chihuahua alludes to the animals present at the birth of Christ. Extending this analogy, the Christmas lights referred to could symbolise the star followed by the original Magi to illuminate their destination. The next five lines offer a description of the items the trio carry. The chihuahua is wrapped in a tartan coat, the baby in a white shawl and the guitar in a plastic cover topped with a sprig of mistletoe. Morgan uses a metaphor as he describes the trio, revealing that their breath rises/in a cloud of happiness. Their breath becomes a cloud of joy and delight. This is particularly effective at establishing the positive mood of the poem. The breath of the group seems to envelop and protect them. The excited optimism of the trio seems to be almost infectious and the speaker delights in their exuberance. The voice of the young man is heard in the colloquial exclamation, Wait till he sees this but! The use of the grammatically erroneous “but” at the end of the sentence captures the Glaswegian dialect and reveals how eager he is to see the reaction of the gift's recipient. This mood is continued in the description of the chihuahua which is wrapped in a tiny Royal Stewart tartan coat like a teapot-holder. This simile is lighthearted and compliments the hopeful mood established earlier in the poem. The brightly-coloured coat becomes something whimsical and slightly ridiculous in a good-natured way. Like the chihuahua, the guitar and baby are also covered and protected in some way, revealing how precious and well cared for they are. The young baby is also described with a simile, bright eyes and mouth like/favours in a fresh sweet cake. This simile is effective because it compares the baby’s features to favours or treats on a wedding cake. This baby then, just like a wedding becomes a symbol of love and hope. During this section, Morgan’s word choice also contributes to the positive mood. The milky cover on the guitar (a white colour, like that of the baby’s shawl) symbolises innocence and purity. The mistletoe becomes a brisk sprig, brisk suggests vitality and liveliness. This adjective, used to describe the greenery, also conveys the energy, vigour and purposefulness in the trio's movements on this cold, crisp evening. Lines 15 - 19 There is a change in pace from the longer sentences in the first stanza by using three exclamations in the depiction of the objects the trio carry, Orphean sprig! Melting baby! Warm chihuahua!. The use of caesura a deliberate break in the line through the exclamation marks – helps to focus our attention on each of the objects. The use of the three adjectives, Orphean, melting, and warm, is also significant. According to Greek Mythology, Orpheus had the power to bring objects to life through his music while melting and warm help to convey the joy and happiness emanating from the group. Despite the religious imagery presented earlier, the speaker makes it clear that this is a secular poem in the line Whether Christ is born or not born. The idea presented is that religious faith is no more relevant or important than the feeling of goodwill and happiness that surrounds this trio, and that the qualities of generosity, compassion and kindness are not exclusive to religion but inherent in all of us regardless of faith or belief. Christmas lights on Buchanan Street Now, though, the speaker moves on to a deeper meditation, suggesting that when confronted with this trio, the sorrows and sadness of life, the vale of tears is effectively rendered powerless. This expression is a biblical phrase, which is basically a metaphor for life’s problems and again alludes to religion. The idea implied is that the friendship and camaraderie of this group is just as fulfilling and enriching as any religious faith and equally able to offer protection from life’s hardships. The speaker then moves on to explain how fate is no match for the joy and goodwill symbolised by the group. Fate is personified, becoming a foe which abdicates/under the Christmas lights. Fate, the perils and difficulties of life, is apparently forced into submission by the trio. We get the impression of the trio possessing happiness and enjoyment which counteracts and provides an antidote to the more difficult, negative aspects of life. Lines 20 - 22 The power of the group is demonstrated again through word choice where the dark parts of life that have troubled us throughout the year, personified as Monsters become blank and are scattered, forced to retreat by the strength of group’s goodwill. This metaphor of an army in battle is extended in the description of the group as a march of three, with its clear connotations of the military. Lines 23 - 27 The sentence structure of the final line yields an observation of the lasting legacy of the group. Though they have gone, their positive spirit remains. Morgan’s use of parenthesis reveals the speaker’s understanding of the positive impact of the trio. It shows that, despite their departure, the group have left an impression. The conflict between happiness and despair, touched upon earlier in the poem is continued in this final line. Morgan uses a simile, comparing the happy sounds of the group to a sentinel which protects against sadness. We hear of laughter ringing round them like a guard. Joy becomes a protector, keeping negative feelings at bay. This is an optimistic message, suggesting that the trio of people and their items symbolise hope. Themes One of the important themes in this poem is the value and power of human warmth, and the happiness and strength that others can derive from this. The group and their items represent the hopeful, joyful side of life. By evoking this particular scene, the speaker is hoping that the reader can experience the same uplifting feeling of contentment that he did. The joy and goodwill emanating from the group is inspired by the tradition of gift giving at Christmas yet despite the religious imagery, this is a secular poem. The speaker suggests that fraternity and generosity can provide as much fulfilment and protection from the negative aspects of life as any form of organised religion. In a society which is becoming increasingly secular and isolated, the speaker celebrates the positive attributes of humanity and the strength that we can draw from one another.