My Papa's Waltz, My Papa's Hat, Those Winter Sundays

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A relationship is important to a father and son. The importance is acknowledging one another. Father and son relationships are important in the poems, “My Papa’s Waltz,” “Those Winter Sundays,” and “My Father’s Hat.” Theodore Roethke acknowledges his father’s love and attention in his poem, “My Papa’s Waltz.” Robert Hayden acknowledges his father in his poem, “Those Winter Sundays,” by recognizing his father’s hard work and sacrifice. Mark Irwin acknowledges his father in his poem, “My Father’s Hat.”

The three poems acknowledge the fathers; however, the poems are different in their mood. The mood of Theodore Roethke’s poem, “My Papa’s Waltz,” is exciting. The poem is a childhood memory of Roethke’s father whirling him around the kitchen. The poet describes how the poet feels, as his father whirls him around. Roethke wrote, “breath and death,” “dizzy and easy.” (“Papa” 1-4) The reader imagines the father whirling the boy around, and the boy holding on tight to his father. The poet wrote, “We romped until the pans/slid from the kitchen shelf.” (“Papa” 5-6) and “My mother’s countenance/Could not unfrown itself.” (“Papa” 7-8) The mother appears to dislike the whirling around in the kitchen, but the poet uses the word “romp,” which indicates it was playful and fun. The rhyme gives the reader the choice of interpreting the poem with a favorable or unfavorable meaning. I believe the poet’s childhood memory demonstrates the father’s attention and love for his son.

The mood of the poem, “Those Winter Sundays,” written by Robert Hayden is regretful. The poet describes a cold winter Sunday morning staying in bed until the house is warm. The poet expressed sympathy for his father who got up early on a cold Sunday morning...

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... labor in the weekday weather made.” (“Winter” 3) Mark Irwin, however, did not describe his father’s hands, but he did acknowledge his father by the love of his father’s hat. Mark Irwin’s imagery was his use of the senses of smell of the hat, imagining he was in a forest and listening to the wind in the trees. The childhood memories of the three poets indicates their acknowledgement of their fathers. This acknowledgement indicates the importance of the relationship between a father and a son.

Works Cited

My Father’s Hat. Poets.Org. Mark Irwin. 1997-2013 Copyright by Academy of American Poets (http//

My Papa’s Waltz. Poets.Org. Theodore Roethke. 1997-2013 Copyright by Academy of American Poets (http//

Those Winter Sundays. Poets.Org. Robert Hayden. 1997-2013 Copyright by Academy of American Poets (http//
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