Sunday, February 16, 2014

My Papa's Waltz - What Does It Mean?



My Papa's Waltz

By Theodore Roethke

The whiskey on your breath
Could make a small boy dizzy;
But I hung on like death:
Such waltzing was not easy.

We romped until the pans
Slid from the kitchen shelf;
My mother's countenance
Could not unfrown itself.

The hand that held my wrist
Was battered on one knuckle;
At every step you missed
My right ear scraped a buckle.

You beat time on my head
With a palm caked hard by dirt,
Then waltzed me off to bed
Still clinging to your shirt.

   The speaker’s usual stance suggests that waltzing with his drunken father before bed time is a common occurrence; in fact, to go so far as to appoint his father his very own waltz further suggests that his father may have been drunk more often than he was sober. The boy has no clue that what his beloved father is doing is wrong.

Happy Readings,

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