The theme of three poems that were assigned for reading this week were about family relationships and the different aspects of them. In all three poems, “The Video”, “My Papa’s Waltz” and “Untitled”, we see the love, neglect and disinterest in family relationships. Every family is different in dealing with how they treat their other family members and these poems perfectly illustrate that.
In “The Video”, the main character is Ceri, an only child who is watching her newborn sister being born. Her father tells her to move over so he can get a close up of the baby coming out. Finally when her sister is born and things are back to normal in her house, the mother is twice as busy as usual because she now has two kids. Ceri feels like she may be neglected in a way because her mother isn’t just paying attention to her anymore. Ceri watches the video of her sister born, and then puts it in reverse, making her sister go back in.
In my opinion “The Video” was very funny to me. It was something that I could relate to because I was the only child before my brother was born. I did notice that sometimes I didn’t get as much attention as I wanted but I learned to love my brother and spend time with him. I saw him as more as somebody to hang out with rather than just somebody that was taking my attention away from mom.
In “My Papa’s Waltz”, a father is dancing with his son after having too much to drink one night. As they are dancing around the kitchen he is singing to himself and knocking over everything in sight. He keeps dancing with his son but his soon keeps falling into his father’s belt buckle and scraping his ear. His father means him no harm because he is clearly drunk and eventually he dances his son off to bed.
My father was the same way when I was growing up (minus the drinking) but he was always as present as he could be in our lives. Even if that meant waking us up to give us dessert at 9pm when we were kids because he got home late. He was always around and still is always around when any of us ever need anything he will always be there at a drop of a hat.
The last poem that I read was “Untitled” by Peter Mienke. In the poem, the father is trying to apologize for all the wrong that he has done the son. I saw a strong sense of remorse on the father’s part, he seemed to have beaten Peter and was never really present in his life to help him out. It is evident that the father is sorry that he did all these horrible things to Peter.
After re-reading the poem I thought that maybe Peter could have written the poem from his father’s perspective. One particular line stuck out as interesting to me, “but now I see that no one knows that about himself, but must be told and retold until it takes hold.” Nobody may have known about Peter’s father abusing him and he feels that he needed to write from his father’s perspective to get out what he maybe wishes his father would say to him after all the years neglect he received.
The event I attended this week was the showing of “Our Country’s Good” by the Evergreen players at McManus Theater on Thursday February 24th. The play was about a
group of English convicts heading toward Australia on a prison boat in 1788. The first scene showed the hostility of the guards toward the prisoners as one of the characters, Sideways, is being beaten. The guards show no mercy toward the convicts and the convicts show their despair and fear of the guards.
As this is going on, the highest-ranking officers are introduced to the audience. They are the Governor Arthur Phillips, Judge David Collins, Captain Watkin Tench and a midshipman by the name of Harry Brewer. All three are debating the punishment that the convicts should be dealt for stealing. Judge Collins believes that no matter how minor or serious the crime, the law has been broken and therefore punishment must be dealt out. Harry Brewer and Captain Tench both sort of agree that the prisoners have no chance of becoming better people and hanging them wouldn’t really matter anyways. However Governor Phillips takes a more lightened approach to the situation, saying that they should be dealt with like regular people and not just prisoners.
At the end of their conversation, Phillips suggests that the convicts should put on a play for them. The play would try to help the convicts see the error in their ways and try to change themselves for the better of their own lives. Governor Phillips decides on the play “The Recruiting Officer.” The leaders of the ship (excluding Phillips) do not feel as if the convicts deserve to be in the play and are skeptical if given the chance they wont even participate.
The play goes on as one of the convicts Liz, is sentenced to be hanged. She is able to convince the officials that she should live because she is innocent of her crime of stealing. The play then goes on and we see a major reform in all the convicts as they now have higher aspirations for their life. The play works and the convicts feel relived that they now know what they want to do with their lives.
The poems and “Our Country’s Good” relate in one main way. The convicts were a family and they knew the only way that they could save their own lives was to work together. At the end they all feel connected and proud that by coming together and facing their problems together they could survive and do the things they wanted to do with their lives.