Childhood in Poetry
Childhood. It is the most bewildering point in life. There are limited
means of communication with a child as they don't get understand fully
the language of adults. However, the first few years of out lives are
by far the most important! They can determine what kind of life we
will lead in the future and our attitude towards the world can even be
determined by the way we were born!
Childhood is a rich source of information for poets: there is so much
to write about, and the reader will be able to relate to it as they
have all experienced childhood.
My childhood was fantastic, full of adventure and excitement, a time
to experience new things. As I was brought up in the countryside, I
lived in harmony with nature and I did the usual things that any other
child would have done. I picked blackberries, ran carelessly through
the fields and spent my time discovering new, exhilarating things.
The poets and poems I will be looking at in this essay will be
'Clearances 3' by Seamus Heaney, 'My Papa's Waltz' by Theodore Roethke
and 'Our Father' by Ray Mathew.
I will be analysing each poem in some detail and I intend to highlight
the differences and similarities between the poems.
The first poem I will be looking at is 'My Papas Waltz' by Theodore
Roethke. This poem is mainly about a little child whose father comes
in from work and is quite drunk; they waltz through their house, while
the mother remains nervously standing, showing no sign of amusement! I
am guessing the child is quite small as the poet recalls how
'the whiskey on your breath could make a small boy dizzy'
The poem is laid out so that the first line rhymes with the third and
the second line rhymes with the fourth line and so on. The poet is
clearly trying to convey the beat of the waltz rhythm in the short
lines that rhyme so consistently and pause as the waltz steps pause in
a regular rhythmic way.
In the first stanza the poet talks about the father and the child
waltzing. The child seems to be very fond of his father as a waltz is
a very close, affectionate and joyous movement. The title of the poem
is very appropriate 'My Papas Waltz', as it is indicating the child is
very proud of his father and he admires his father greatly.
The father is quite drunk so the child 'hung on like death'. The child
was either afraid of letting go in case his father would stumble over
him or did he just like it too much to let go?
'such waltzing was not easy'
this suggests that the child might have been standing on his father's
feet as he was a small child and wasn't tall enough to waltz properly.
In the second stanza it recalls how they
'romped until the pans slid from the kitchen shelf'
which suggests that when they were waltzing, the father was staggering
into shelves causing them...