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'Visiting Hour' by Norman MacCaig

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Holly McCormack Visiting Hour I have chosen to write about the poem 'Visiting Hour' by Norman MacCaig. The poem is about a hospital visit to someone close to his heart. The poet believes that the person, who incidentally is his wife, is going to die. From the poem I can sense that Norman MacCaig is speaking through his emotions and by writing the poem he is aiming to release some of his emotional pain. The poem had a profound impact on me. I felt very empathetic towards him because I also feel that when someone close to me is about to die. When both my Gran and Grandpa have been severely ill in hospital, I have feared the worst and saw myself being strong whilst in the company of others, but naturally breaking down into a sob of tears when alone. When reading the poem I could clearly visualise going to visit someone in hospital and I started to cry as I read the poem more. I feel that being strong for someone is very important in this poem and he shows this throughout. ...read more.


he writes, 'What seems a corpse is trundled into am lift and vanishes heavenward," to me this signifies that he is seeing a negative in everything. I was confused by the way he described a nurses movement at first as he says, "Nurses walk lightly, swiftly, here and up and down and there," and by this he means that a nurse sets to go somewhere and can end up somewhere completely different because of demanding patients or unexpected urgencies. I admire the poet's style of writing because it is very moving. By this I mean I can feel empathy towards him throughout the poem. The poem also contained many metaphors that were very effective. These metaphors were in verse five, when he is in the hospital by his wife's beside. Firstly he says, "a white cave of forgetfulness," by this he means that the sheets on her bed are white and contrasting to the black all around her. She was on medicine and maybe that is the reason she was full of forgetfulness. ...read more.


As the poems finishes there are two symbolic sentences said. The first one which is, "books that will never be read," means that if you are in hospital for a long time then you would expect books. However, if you have been telling someone that they are going to get better and will be out of hospital soon, then books shouldn't be an option as they might get the impression they are here to stay. Also, if the book is not going to be read then that also indicates that they are going to die. The second area of symbolism is, "fruitless fruits," and this symbolises that fruit that may be given to someone in hospital, and if it is fruitless it is also lifeless, as fruits are good for you. I conclude that the poet uses good techniques throughout by use of metaphors and symbolism. Throughout the poem he makes me feel empathetic towards him. Although the poem proved confusing at times with his unusual ideas, I still really enjoyed it and I really felt the power of the last two words, which were, "Fruitless fruits." ...read more.

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