Poetry often expresses the deepest feelings, memories, and emotions of the poet. When the poem contains shared experience of moments shared between parents and children, it is often heightened in emotion and feeling. One of the strongest emotional bonds is between a father and son. In two poems about this bond, Theodore RoethkeÆs My PapaÆs Waltz and Dylan ThomasÆ Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, we see the strength of such emotional bonds illustrated. However, we also see a further element that links each of these poems, despite their differences in style and content. In both My PapaÆs Waltz and Do Not Go Gentle, we see sons who are figuratively and literally trying to cling to their fathers.
In both My PapaÆs Waltz and Do Not Go Gentle, the speakers are sons sharing an experience with their father. In My PapaÆs Waltz, the speaker shares his memories of how his inebriated father used to waltz him around the house, often to the dismay of his mother: ôWe romped until the pans / Slid from the kitchen shelf; / My motherÆs countenance / Could not unfrown itselfö (Kirszner and Mandell, 779). As a child, the speaker remembers he had to hand on to his father for dear life during these ôwaltzes,ö spontaneous romps during which the speaker would often scraped by a ôbuckleö or endured his father ôàbeat[ing] time on [his] headö (Kirszner et al., 779).
In providing the story of his fatherÆs ôwaltzes,ö the speaker remembers distinctly unique features and traits of his father. He remembers his fatherÆs knuckle was ôbatteredö and his ôpalm caked hard by dirtö (Kirszner et al., 779). Such images serve to remind the speaker of his cherished memories of waltzing around the house with his father, whose inebriated breath ôcould make a small boy dizzyö (Kirszner et al., 778). The dance would end with the father waltzing his son to his bedroom, with the son ôStill clinging to [his] shirtö (Kirs