CHU at 11:58:53 11/19/97 from c549-13.svdcc.fju.edu.tw
|The speaker may be a man ( for only "past tense"
being used in the poem ) and he recalled the memory of
his father in his childhood. The relationship between
the speaker and his father is delite. the first stanza
says when his father called, he'd rise and dress "slowly"
( for he might be unwilling to get up in such a cold
morning ) fearing the chronic angers of that house -- from
this we know he was afraid of his father's power. I think
his father may be the kind of person who seldom wear smile
on his face and always appears severe. But it doesn't
follow he didn't love his son. He showed his love by actions
instead of words. The 3rd and 4th lines of the first stanza
can proof:" cracked hands that ached from labor in weekdays
weather "-- from which we know the father must have been
working very hard to raise the family. Even in Sundays he
got up early to make fires to warm up the house. sunday is
not a workday and he could have slept late. But he did not.
Futhermore, he polished the shoes for his sons. However,
instead of saying "thank you", he spoke indifferently to
his father. The repetition of "What did I know" implies the
son's regret of being so ungrateful then. Perhaps now the
speaker is a father,too, so he suddenly learned about the
love from his father at that time. And also he came to
realize that how hard and lonely it is for a father to carry
the burden of a family.( Because he mentioned "lonely offices"
and I think it may refer to the duties which his father always