This week we were assigned three poems: “The Video” by Fleur Adcock, “Untitled” by Peter Meinke and “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke. Each of these poems focus on some aspect of family life, mostly parent-child relationships. This past weekend I attended the Evergreen Production of “Our Country’s Good.” Although there are no direct connections with family, one can still form an indirect connection to family through the strong connections between characters.
Fleur Adcock grasps the idea of a jealous child after there is a new addition to the family in his poem “The Video.” The poem is in free verse and I would say takes many liberties in it’s writing. Adcock expresses the jealousy of a child through a child’s actions. The narrator watches this video of her younger sister being born and pleasantly rewinds the video making it seem as if the birth never occurred. The narrator is angered by all the action that new born is getting and is not use to the feeling of not being center of attention. This can be seen in Our Country’s Good when Mary outshines Dabby during the casting of the play. Throughout their time together Dabby has always been Mary’s mentor and now Dabby is being put in the back seat. All through the play Dabby is constantly throwing out little hints in the air to Mary that she should have her part. Eventually Dabby accepts the fact that she is not going to get Mary’s part, just as the reader can assume that the narrator will get over this jealousy.
“Untitled” written by Peter Meinke touches upon the remorse of a parent who feels as if they have “failed” their child. The father thinks that he has hurt his child emotionally and he sees the pain in his child. The poem is his apology to his son and you can tell that he sincerely means it through his words and deep regret. This compares to the scene In Our Country’s Good where Duckling, who has rejected Harry’s love numerous times, cradles his dead body and begs for forgiveness because in reality she has always loved him. Due to the fact that she never showed it, she is in a state of regret and remorse for the remainder of the play, similar to the feelings of the father.
“My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke is a tragic tale of a son who yearns for his fathers love and is being pushed away by his father’s alcoholism. The son is clinging to the father hoping to get an instance of attention from his father. The poem, unlike the previous poem, narrates the hard feelings of the son. Duckling, as stated before, is constantly rejecting Harry and before he passes away he “clings” to her just as this boy to his father. Harry watches over Duckling and yells at her for her wrong doings, just as the boy watched over his father’s bad habit of drinking.
These poems open the eyes of reader to realize that actions have effects on other people.