The opening metaphor sets the tone for the relationship between the two brothers: ""Saddled"" suggests the negative feelings the speaker has for his brother, as if he is an inconvenience, restricting the freedom of the speaker.
The feelings of the characters in the poem are revealed through the choice of verbs. In the first stanza the speaker and his friend ""ambled"", ""talking"" as they went, whereas the younger brother ""skipped"" and was ""spouting six-year-old views"". The enthusiastic spirit of the younger brother reflects his pride and excitement at being with the older brother he clearly worships. This continues in the second stanza: ""sighed"" and ""stroll"" contrast with ""windmilled"", a metaphor full of the energy. The older children lack the outward enthusiasm of the younger boy, but then they are ""doing what grown-ups do"".
The third stanza makes it clear that the older boys are still children, despite how they would like to be seen by the world: they ""chased Olympic Gold"" when running for the bus, a metaphor for competitive natures that they cannot help but reveal.
The voice of the speaker suggests throughout that he is feeling resentment towards the ""ridiculous tank-top"" of the younger brother and his ""six-year-old views"".
The aspiration to be older and do "what grown-ups do" is apparent through the poem. In the first stanza, the older children discuss football and are dismissive of the younger boy as if they are wiser.
n line 9 the speaker sees age as an advantage: ""His smile, like mine, said I was nine and he was ten"". The speaker is reflecting the naively superior feelings of the older boys. The shared smile also hints at their close friendship, an intimacy which is craved by the younger brother but will be denied him because of the ""distance"" between the brothers.
The childhood feeling of superiority is later regretted by the speaker, however. ""Looking back"" is used both literally to refer to the older boy checking on...