The poem, “Elegy for My Father” tells the story about the circumstances of Meena Alexander’s father being dead. This is the sole inspiration for this poem, it uses countless poetic features and descriptive detail to make it clear and precise. Meena Alexander effectively uses a variety of poetic features, including imagery, sound, and length to make this piece stand out from other pieces similar to it.
Length is the first poetic device included, it is quite important overall. When printed on paper, it spans five pages long. Oddly enough, the poem is divided into five different parts, symbolized as roman numerals. Part I is relatively short, just 2 stanzas, focusing on his bones and how they were like when he died. “Father, when you died, your bones were brittle, fit to burn.” Her father must have been very weak before he died. Part II talks about a time Alexander caught her father late at night at the dining table, she was only a teenager, but she was able to notice he looked mad and had his hands clenched to the side of his body. “One night returning late, I was a loudmouthed teenager, then I caught you at the dining table, fists clenched, bent forward in darkness.” Later, she questioned whether he loved her, he responded by saying, it is not something that is required to be spoken because she should already know he does love her. Part III is the middle and gets more graphic. It is her description of his life and where he has been in the past. There are three main places he has been to the past, and those are, England, Pakistan, and India. In Part III, the part where Pakistan comes in, she writes “When they cut India in two.” This is relating to the split from India to form Pakistan. The people living there demande...
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... fruits. At the start of Part III, he is a man of climates, he can adapt and live anywhere. “You were the age I am now, a man for all climates, hot streams, Monsoon Rivers, the indigo sea…” The final Part of the poem is all about the surrounding scenery. The fourth to last paragraph reads “She sings an air I do not know. She kneels under a rain tree, flings grain of sticky rice into the sea as the sun soars into that darkness Plotinus sought When he mused on the soul, its very shape a flaming mystery. There, there, she sings…..” Plotinus was an ancient philosopher of the Greeks around the year of 200.There is this “she” written into this stanza, “she” appears to be an angel or spirit in the sky. The final line contains her father’s name and the length of his life. Through numerous poetic features, Meena Alexander is able to explain the admiration for her late father.
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