"A Martian Sends A Postcard Home" by Craig Raine

Essay by lcboogie12College, UndergraduateA+, March 2003

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In "A Martian Sends a Postcard Home," Craig Raine uses many metaphors to describe what a Martian would see if he came to earth. In the first stanza Raine uses metaphors to describe what a Martian may think a book looks like. Raine makes reference to William Caxton, who was the first to print books in England, in the first stanza; "Caxtons are mechanical birds with many wings / and some are treasured for their markings. A book would resemble a bird when opened, the wings being the many pages, and many books have marked a spot in history or is cherished by the person reading it. In the next four lines the Martian observes the different emotions one may have while reading a "mechanical bird," and although he's never witnessed one actually flying, which is impossible, he notices that they are sometimes in someone's hand. In stanzas five and six the Martian is trying to explain fog.

"Rain is when the earth is television / It has the property of making colours darker," meaning when the colors are changed on a television the picture would look unclear, and cloudy even. Raine simply describes a car as a "Model T," in the next two stanzas. Explaining a car to be "a room with the lock inside," is a very imaginative metaphor. By writing "But time is tied to the wrist / or kept in a box, ticking with impatience," Raine is expressing that the Martian is encountering a watch or a clock. In stanzas ten through twelve the Martian has come upon a telephone, which he describes as a "haunted apparatus," which usually "sleeps," and cries, or rings until it is picked up. Raine also adds the element of humor to the poem, an example is in the twelfth...