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Use of Language

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Most of the language used in the poem is literal and descriptive, this makes it read like an autobiography. It is written in the first person, which makes it personal and gives it immediacy. The title implies a sense of danger and great distance; the inclusion of a date suggests that it is an account of a real incident.

The poet repeatedly uses phrases which convey her fear as they fled to safety from Iraq to Iran. The poet uses personification to reveal the steepness of the mountains as they forced her 'to crawl' because the steepness made it impossible to walk. She further repeats this information when she describes the steepness of the track making her 'back nearly' touch the mule's back she was sitting on. The use of repetition emphasise the steepness and therefore the difficulty of the climb.

The poet was climbing a mountain of great height and to emphasise the height she uses a metaphor which reveals that the valley below was 'A valley of plaster' which was in fact the whiteness of the snow far below. The poet emphasises the steepness and the height in this way because she wants to inform the readers that the two factors were making her very frightened. Hardi further discloses her fear and vulnerability when she declares that she could not "imagine being rescued ...".

The use of rhetorical questions in the first verse informs the reader that she had made this journey with her family in the past. This confirms with the information given in the introduction of the poem which reveals that they had to flee Iraq when she was five.

The poem also uses dialogue, e.g. the exchanges between the 14 year old poet and the mule owner. This helps to create a sense of immediacy (as if the event is happening before our eyes) and so helps to bring the remembered incident back to life.



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