Football at Slack

“Football at Slack” By Ted Hughes

Many poets write poems that convey positive experiences. “Football at Slack” by Ted Hughes is one of these poems.   It describes some men playing football in the countryside and contrasts the men’s active and enthusiastic effort with the dull weather.   It also shows how the weather doesn’t dampen the men’s spirits as they continue to play despite the heavy wind and rain.   In his poem, Ted Hughes uses various techniques to describe the men’s positive experience of playing football.

Firstly, in stanza’s one to three, Ted Hughes uses alliteration and imagery to convey the positive experience of the men. When the poet describes the ball’s movement he uses alliteration:
“blown ball bounced”
The harsh ‘b’ sound of the three words makes us focus on the ball like the men who are putting all of their concentration into the game. It also describes the sound the ball makes as it hits off the ground and players as it is passed around.   Hughes also uses imagery to convey the men’s positive experience:
“the merry-coloured men
Spouted like water”
This use of a simile gives us the idea of the men’s movement and determination to get the ball. Just like water being pushed out from a pipe, we gain the impression of the forceful and upward movement of the players as they try to head the ball. ‘Merry-coloured men’ also gives us the idea of the men’s enthusiastic and enjoyable game play.   These all contribute to the men’s positive experience.

Furthermore, in stanzas four to six, Ted Hughes uses imagery and word choice to show how the awful weather conditions do not detract from the men’s positive experience. He uses a metaphor to describe the rain:
“the rain lowered a steel press”
This gives us a sense of Mother Nature lowering the clouds and producing terrible rain.   It also makes us imagine the colour of the sky, a dark grey, the force of the downpour and creates a depressing mood. Hughes’ clever word choice also helps describe the...