Subject Poems Journal 1
Posted by Megan
Posted on Wed Nov 4 16:41:44 1998
From IP  

I Ask My Mother to Sing - Li-Young Lee
The speaker is a second-generation Chinese immigrant who was born in Indonesia and now
lives and works in Chicago. When he was very little his family left China because of political turmoil and finally settled in the United States. Due to this experience, this family has deep feeling about loss and dislocation. Grandma and Mother sang a song, then Father played his accordion. The whole family was bathing in the past memory. They sway their boat, swaying to their dreamy land- their hometown. However, Lee has never been to Main land China, nor seen spectacular scenery there. So all he can do is ask his mother sing to give him more pictures of how hometown is like. The picnickers who visited Kuen Ming lake ran away in the grass because of rain. This family too reluctantly left home, wandering in foreign land. Lee said: "I'm highly aware that I'm a guest in the language. I' wondering if that's not the truth for all of us, that somehow we're all guests in language, that once we start speaking any language somehow we bow to that language at the same time we bend that language to us." Therefore, no matter how sad they were, they kept on singing, conveying their story to next generation to generation.
Those Winter Sundays - Robert Hayden
The father tried hard to take care of his son, getting up early on cold Sundays, warming the room before his son wake up, polishing his son's good shoes. But no one ever thanked him. The son slowly followed his father's direction, it was just a routine without feeling in it. Their conversation was indifferently, and their relationship was just like the weather outside-- blueblack cold, splintering and breaking. The speaker is an adult now, describing
the past between him and his father. It is not until now dose the speaker realizes his father's deep love. Children want parents to play with them, to say they love them. But the speaker's father worked all day long and showed his love unsaid, in his way to love his children. So misunderstand happened, it was too late to say What did I know, what did I know? The chronic anger of the father is resulted from not being appreciated. In the contrast, children didn't know of love's austere and lonely offices. After reading this poem, we may want to take the relationship between we and our parents into consideration to check out whether we actually show our love towards them and they can feel it or not.

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