'Tissue' - Key Quotations

"Paper that lets the light

shine through"

- STANZA 1 -

CONTEXT:

The opening lines of the poem.

THEMES:

Hope; Positivity

LANGUAGE:

Enjambment = creates an on-going, conversational tone.

Symbolism = "light" is symbolic of hope and happiness.

"the back of the Koran, where a hand

has written in the names and histories"

- STANZA 2 -

CONTEXT:

The speaker discusses how paper is used in books.

THEMES:

Religion; History

LANGUAGE:

Religion = "Koran" is symbolic of religion and culture.

Noun = "histories" implies that these important texts are passed down through generations, with the "names" belonging to many different owners.

"...on which sepia date,

pages smoothed and stroked and turned"

- STANZA 3 -

CONTEXT:

The speaker continues to describe how these books are used.

THEMES:

Religion; Delicacy; Importance; History

LANGUAGE:

Adjective = "sepia" suggests that the pages are worn and have faded with time and use.

Verbs = "smoothed" and "stroked" imply that the pages of these books are handled incredibly carefully and delicately, for fear of causing damage to them. They are treasured.

"The sun shines through

their borderlines, the marks

that rivers make, roads,

railtracks, mountainfolds,"

- STANZA 5 -

CONTEXT:

The speaker discusses both man-made and naturally made objects and places.

THEMES:

Nature; Humanity; Hope

LANGUAGE:

List = the listing of these objects and places puts both naturally-made and man-made creations under the sun's rays, which represent hope and positivity. Everything can be affected by hope.

"and what was paid by credit card

might fly our lives like paper kites"

- STANZA 6 -

CONTEXT:

The speaker discusses consumerism.

THEMES:

Money; Materialism; Childhood; Innocence

LANGUAGE/STRUCTURE:

Noun phrase = "paper kites" alludes to childhood and flying kites for fun. There is an interesting contrast here as "what was paid by credit card" (the material possessions that we own) is being described as controlling our lives.

"find a way to trace a grand design"

- STANZA 8-

CONTEXT:

The speaker discusses how we can let hope and positivity guide our lives and make them better.

THEMES:

Religion; Construction

LANGUAGE:

Religion = "grand design" is a biblical reference to the creation of all things, and so implies life and the world as a whole. It suggests that we could construct things in our lives that do not make us miserable or prevent us from being happy.

"with living tissue, raise a structure

never meant to last"

- STANZA 9-

CONTEXT:

The speaker makes an explicit reference to people and life.

THEMES:

Humanity; Construction; Temporariness

LANGUAGE:

Metaphor = "living tissue" is a metaphor for all people.

Phase = "never meant to last" is somewhat ominous, suggesting that the things humanity creates are temporary. Could be a reference to the destruction caused through war and violence?

"turned into your skin."

- STANZA 10-

CONTEXT:

The final stanza which is just a single line on its own.

THEMES:

Identity

LANGUAGE:

Direct address = the speaker ends by talking directly to us through "your". This brings us into the narrative and the central themes of the poem, with the speaker insisting that we should avoid conflict in our lives and work to bring positivity and hope to ourselves and the world around us.