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The title ‘The City Planners' suggests that the poem is about the deceptive and artificial modern culture and development in Western nations. The first line 'cruising these residential Sunday/ streets in dry August sunlight' gives us the impression thatthe poet is slowly driving through a suburb, probably in Canada and it is a Sunday afternoon in August. 'Sunday streets' implies the city streets on a Sunday afternoon. The next line 'what offends us is the sanities' comes as a shock and the rest of the poem is Attwood's criticism of rapid urbanization and the monopoly of the planners. 'Pedantic rows' and 'sanitary trees' expresses the poet's thoughts about suburbia which she feels is superficial. She then provides a simile by comparing the 'levelness of surface' or rather the height of the trees as a 'rebuke' to the 'dent in our car door'. This suggests thatit is mechanical and robotic leaving no room for the spontaneity and natural behavior of a human being which is signified by the dent. She supports this lifeless and drab imagery of suburbia by saying that there is 'no shouting here, or shatter of glass' which provides us with a positive image of life in a residential area. This line suggests thatthere is no signs of spontaneity and vibrancy with pin-drop silence. However, in the next line the calm and peace is disrupted by the sound of the lawn mower that is cutting the grass to size.
Stanza two continues the mess that confront suburbia in a way by pointing out flaws. The description of the monotony of roof tiling -'all display the same slant of avoidance to the hot sky'-forces us to think that how dehumanizing nature of the suburb and its inhabitants can be. These is also the offensive smell of oil which smells faintly like vomit and a splash of paint is compared to a bruise. She says that the paint is as 'surprising' as a bruise becauseof the cracks in the structures. The 'a plastic hose poised in a vicious coil' gives us the same impression. The hose is followed by a comma to reinforce the list of things she finds offensive about suburbia, mentioning the 'too-fixed stare of the wide windows.
In Stanza three is the end of complaints and shows the consequences of rapid urbanization and the monopoly of the planners. It also shows the reality of the real estate agency. Stanza 4 gives the real estate agents a sense of power or authority to them saying they are political conspirators. They claim to act in the best interest of only one party that being the buyer or seller but the reality is they safeguard their money.
In the end the tone shifts from a list of suburban ills to what might happen in the future. Attwood's pessimism is revealed when she says that that there will be coming an inevitable stage when nature will ultimately conquer, and houses will capsize into clay seas.She later says that even the 'clay seas' will become contested territories and the City Planners of the future will still map out another city.
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