Hide and Seek by Vernon Scannell talks about a child’s exciting experience playing the traditional game hide-and-seek. It conveys a subtle message that over-confidence may lead us into ultimate failure even if success seems just around the corner. Scannell applies a sharp and quick tone throughout with his rapid successions and having the poem be a short stanza, bringing out the feeling of thrill and delight of a child anticipating triumph.
Scannell chooses to write in second person, giving the reader instructions in so what to do in order to conceal yourself well from the seekers, “be careful that your feet aren’t sticking out”, “you mustn’t sneeze…” and “Don’t breathe.
Don’t move. Stay dumb. Hide in your blindness. ” are some typical examples. Techniques such as alliteration can be found multiple times in the poem. In the first line “Call out. Call loud… Come and find me! , the consonant ‘c’ is repeated various times, accentuating the boy’s eagerness, also giving the poem a certain enthusiastic feeling from the very beginning.
In line 11 the consonant ‘d’ in ‘don’t breath’ and ‘don’t move’ draws our attention to the sense of urgency and heightened excitement experienced by the boy.
In the end, Scannell winds it all up saying “Yes here you are. But where are they who sought you? , at first giving me a creepy and ominous feeling, but stimulated thought to pity the child’s disappointment and misery having been abandoned. Remembering this childhood game as a joyful one, I was able to understand how much the boy had been let down when he realized he was dumped by his friends.
I enjoyed Scannell using second person to write this poem, because it is very rare for writers to choose this path, and it makes us more engaged in the poem and are affected by every slight movement of the character.