Good Friday, like Trio and In the Snack Bar records a chance encounter, an approach often employed by Morgan who loved to use his powers of observation to capture a mood or moment through his interactions with strangers.
In this poem, the speaker is joined by a man who sits next to him on a bus on Good Friday, the Christian holiday which marks the day when Jesus was crucified on the cross.
The stranger engages him in a conversation, asking about the bus route, talking about his errand to buy Easter eggs for his children, the significance of the holiday itself and his view of the class system and education. The speaker in the poem is largely absent – he merely describes the movements of the bus and reports what the man has said, and does not reveal his own thoughts about the encounter.
Although this poem opens and closes with the words of the poet, it is largely one side of a conversation with a drunk man in Glasgow. The poet’s voice at the beginning and end of the poem are merely to establish setting (on a bus during the day) and to draw the poem to a close by observing the man getting off the bus.
The language employed is the specific dialect and vernacular of a working class Glaswegian. Morgan felt strongly that poetry could be found in all voices, and he admired and was influenced by American poets of the mid-20th century who were opposed to the way poetry had become academic and elitist. Like them, Morgan enjoyed using everyday language and rhetoric in his work and this poem is testament to this.
To reflect the conversational nature of the content, Morgan writes in free verse using questions and dashes throughout to punctuate and create pauses in the dialogue as well as to imitate the lurching movement of the bus. The poet’s own responses are deliberately absent so as to concentrate more fully on the character and personality of the speaker.