A Father’s Unfailing Presence
A father can play many roles throughout a child’s life: a caregiver, friend, supporter, coach, protector, provider, companion, and so much more. In many situations, a father takes part in a very active position when it comes to being a positive role model who contributes to the overall well-being of the child. Such is the case for the father in the poem “Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden. In this poem, readers are shown the discreet ways in which a father can love his child. On the other hand, there are also many unfortunate situations where the fathers of children are absent, or fail to treat the children with the love and respect that they undoubtedly deserve. In the contrasting poem “Like Riding a Bicycle” by George Bilgere, readers are shown how a son who was mistreated by his drunken father is affected by their past relationship many years later. Although both of these poems have fairly similar themes and literary techniques, they each focus on contradicting situations based on the various roles a father can play in a child’s life.
The poem “Those Winter Sundays” displays a past relationship between a child and his father. Hayden makes use of past tense phrases such as “I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking” (6) to show the readers that the child is remembering certain events that took place in the past. Although the child’s father did not openly express his love towards him when he was growing up, the child now feels a great amount of guilt for never thanking his father for all the things he actually did for him and his family. This poem proves that love can come in more than one form, and it is not always a completely obvious act.
The poem “Like Riding a Bicycle” is quite different when compared to the previous poem. However, similar to Hayden’s poem, this work also focuses on a boy remembering his past relationship with his father during his childhood. On the other hand, it portrays a far different relationship compared to the boy in “Those Winter Sundays.” The author begins by talking about a certain memory that he experienced with his father when he was a child. Starting in the second stanza the tone completely changes, and the author becomes bitter towards his father. “Of course, he was drunk that night” (24) and “the air around us sick with scotch, and the challenge was keeping his own balance...” (26-28) are just a couple of the vivid descriptions to show the kind of father this young boy had to grow up with.
In addition, both of these poems are quite diverse when it comes to their structure. “Those Winter Sundays” is a lyric poem that contains two stanzas, with one stanza containing nine lines and the other containing five lines. “Like Riding a Bicycle” is a free verse poem that contains four stanzas, with the first containing twenty three lines, the second containing fifteen lines, and the third and fourth stanza containing ten lines. It is very clear from reading these two poems...