Poets’ Childhood Relationships with Their Fathers

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Modern poets often reflect back on their childhood relationships with their fathers. Some poets see their fathers with a new found appreciation, some may look at them with acceptance, and still others are trying to move past the emotional grip a father may have had on them.

Some poets see their father with a new found appreciation. For example, in Robert Hayden’s “Those Winter Sundays,” the narrator expresses his appreciation for his father when he poses the question: “What did I know, what did I know / of love’s austere and lonely offices?” (Hayden 13-14). As a child, it is hard to gain an appreciation for one’s father because one does not think about how much a father does for his child. When the speaker grows older, he reflects on his childhood and realizes how much his father has done for him. Everything that the father did for his son and family was done out of love, and the father did not gain any recognition at all. One example of the father helping his family is when he builds the fires to keep the household warm:

Sundays too my father got up early /

and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold /

then with cracked hands that ached /

from labor in the weekday weather made /

banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him. (Hayden 1-6)

The first line explains how on Sundays his father got up early. Sundays were known as a day of rest, but the father still got up and continued to work hard even though he did not have to. Line two simply states how cold it was outside, the word blueblack meaning that it was still dark outside. Lines three through five explain how the father had sore hands from working in the extremely cold weather making the fires and how nobody had ever thanked him for doing this. Another example of...

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...the death of her husband and father, she finally decides to move on and forget about her husband and father completely. She succeeds in doing so for awhile, but five months after writing the poem, the speaker commits suicide, leading the reader to believe that she had some sort of a mental issue and was never able to completely, like she thought she would be able to. It is sad that the narrator had such a hard time moving on and was majorly depressed, but sometimes it is better to move on life and not dwell on the past.

Consequently, some poets may see their fathers with a new found appreciation, some may look at them with acceptance, and still others are trying to move past the emotional grip a father may have had on them. Although each poet had a different childhood relationship and different viewpoint of his or her father, they all loved their fathers deeply.
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