In the second stanza, the woman’s self esteem really shows as she suggest her thoughts and self pity as she imagines a speech bubble rising from the mans head almost to say thank god I did not end up like her. The speech bubble is an important part of this poem as it suggests the woman’s imagination of what could have been. The cartoon-like bubble can be interpreted by the reader in one of two ways, either it is the woman thinking about what the man is thinking or it is the actual reader seeing that from the narrator, this effect brings depth into the poem which in turn makes it more effective. This image of self-pity relates to the plainness in her life and the way she takes no interest in her children, the woman has almost become reckless and careless with her life and her children’s. This slight conversation between man and woman hints at the reader that there could be a budding relationship, Harwood seems to be presenting us with the typical Petrarchan Sonnet problem by offering that these two could be a couple.
In the last stanza, the man and the woman converse about the children and how they have grown, but this conversation seems to be only the polite chatter and not a heart felt one. This stanza gives us the answer to the problem presented about these two possible lovers. As the man begins to walk away, the woman is still speaking; this is a great symbolisation of what has been happening to the woman her whole life. It is as if the woman has never finished anything off and suggests that she usually is trying to bring things together and putting the last word in. After the man has left her presence, the woman is “nursing the youngest child” and shows the reader the real reason for most of her woes. She speaks to the wind, which again reflects her state of mind and refers to her children, “they have eaten me alive”. This last line of the poem is a powerful image of blame, not on her but on others.
Harwood’s “in the park” portrays a woman whose life is in a downward spiral and becoming lifeless. The woman in the poem who is suggestively not named has been in love but is now out of it. The poem shows the reader how the woman’s continuous negative output seems to upset all people around her.