The Cockroach by Kevin Halligan

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Student Worksheet: The Cockroach

the cockroach

I watched a giant cockroach start to pace,

Skirting a ball of dust that road the floor.

At first he seemed quite satisfied to trace

A path between the wainscot and the door,

But soon he turned to jog in crooked rings,

Circling the rusty table leg and back,

And flipping righ over to scratch his wings-

As if the victim of a mild attack

Of restlessness that worsened over time.

After a while, he climed an open shelf

And stopped. He lloked uncertain where to go.

Was this due payment for some vicious crime

A former life had led to? I don’t know,

Except I thought I recognised myself


About Mrs. Nazir's Rhyme and Reason

Am I a bird for Maya Angelou? If yes, why do I and so many of you around me feel caged? why not free? Am I a free spirit, then?If yes, then why don't I locate my limits? Because I can see I have lost the way. The quest for enlightenment is taking me acknowledge just Him ..and this strife just becomes so rewarding and so assuringly peaceful when I see myself having adopted His favourite occupation- the one he designated to his prophets. What has obstructed this self -actualization so far?
This entry was posted in GCE O Level Literature in English, Poetry Anthology for the year 2012-13 and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to The Cockroach by Kevin Halligan

  1. sania says:

    its cul but need a brief analysis of the poem plz help tnx

  2. scora says:

    pliz i need a brief analysis of this poem

    • Gagie33456 says:

      In this poem by Kevin Halligan, the poet uses an extended metaphor to contemplate his life using the imagery of a cockroach. The poets’ choice to use a cockroach, an insect widely renowned for its foul and disgusting traits, implies that Halligan is not proud or satisfied with his life. This is supported by the frequent use of negatives-‘victim’, ‘worsened’, ‘vicious’, uncertain’. The poet explores his past experiences and decisions, but above all his identity-who he is and why.

      According to the Webster’s College dictionary, ‘identity’ is ‘the state of having unique identifying characteristics held by no other person or thing’. In ‘The Cockroach’ by Kevin Halligan, the poet not only explores the idea of identity, but the concept of identity being shaped from past events, experiences. He starts by recalling his steady and simplistic early life-‘he seemed quite satisfied to trace/a path between the wainscot and the door’.

      He then goes on to depict a different scene, one of frenzy and confusion. He warns the reader about the change using the diction ‘but’-‘but soon he turned to jog in…flipping right over to scratch his wings’. Already, though not completely evident, the author drops hints to the use of an extended metaphor by employing personal pronouns and personification to describe the cockroach. The poet uses various time references to indicates the different stages in his life-‘at first’, ‘but soon’, ‘after a while’.

  3. scora says:

    pliz i ned the analysis of the poem coz its really jay

  4. DR says:

    when was the poem written? I cant get any info about this guy Kevin Halligan either :/ Thanks

  5. Gebs says:

    it was written in 1989

  6. brenda says:

    the poem is about the poet noticing a reflexion of himself through the metaphor cockroach… he uses verbs to help with the movements and comparisons to himself and the insect

  7. kulsoomhisam says:

    I have some questions regarding this poem. Does this poem tell us that in the poet’s past life, he was involved in some crimes? And that later on, he is facing the consequences of the crimes that has psychologically damaged him? Because of his exceedinly low self-esteem since he thinks of himself as a cockroach, and he is guilty? And he is trying to find himself, he is lost and doubtful about his path and what to do with his life? Your response will be really appreciated. Thankyou.

  8. Reblogged this on Words Infinitum- A Teacher's Haven and commented:

    Student Worksheet: The Cockroach by Kevin Halligan

  9. Ji Mavris says:

    An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a friend who has been conducting a little homework on this. And he actually bought me dinner simply because I stumbled upon it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending the time to discuss this issue here on your website.

  10. This is a good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Brief but very accurate information… Thanks for sharing this one. A must read article!

  11. You’ve made some decent points there. I looked on the web to learn more about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this web site.

  12. dilrukshi says:

    your poem is great kevin halligan

  13. sophiaclarke1998 says:

    Great poem!! I have an analysis on my site if you want :

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