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Elegy For My Father's Father

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by

Carlos Fiedler

on 3 September 2010

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Transcript of Elegy For My Father's Father

Elegy For My Father's Father by James K. Baxter Themes Structure/From Poet's Background
James Keir Baxter June 29, 1926 - October 22, 1972 New Zealand Fail in University Religion Life in Jerusalem Addictions He knew in the hour he died
That his heart had never spoken
In eighty years of days.
O for the tall tower broken
Memorial is denied:
And the unchanging cairn
That pipes could set ablaze
An aaronsrod and blossom.
They stood by the graveside
From his bitter veins born 10
And mourned him in their fashion.
A chain of sods in a day
He could slice and build
High as the head of a man
And a flowering cherry tree
On his walking shoulder held
Under the lion sun.
When he was old and blind
He sat in a curved chair
All day by the kitchen fire. 20
Many hours he had seen
The stars in their drunken dancing
Through the burning-glass of his mind
And sober knew the green
Boughs of heaven folding
The winter world in their hand.
The pride of his heart was dumb.
He knew in the hour he died
That his heart had never spoken
In song or bridal bed. 30
And the naked thought fell back
To a house by the waterside
And the leaves the wind had shaken
Then for a child’s sake:
To the waves all night awake
With the dark mouths of the dead.
The tongues of water spoke
And his heart was unafraid.
Questions: Why "Father's Father",
not grandfather? 2. How does the poem challenge/subvert our
expectations of an elegy? How does "years of days" emphasise the
sense of time passed? To what extent do you feel the structure
reflects the character of the grandfather? Who are "They" that stood by the graveside?? Explain how the tone of the poem
changes between lines 17-18. And sober knew the green
Boughs of heaven folding
The winter world in their hand. What is tragic about "His heart had never spoken/
In song or bridal bed" How does the shaking of the leaves towards the end
of the poem reflect the mood of the grandfather? What tone does the poet leave us with
in the last line of the poem? What image are we ultimately left with
of the grandfather? To what extent does the poem link with the others
we have studied in terms of motivation for writing,
grief and stages of mourning? Themes Follower by Seamus Heaney Explain the following imagery: "Tall Tower" Connotations? Tombstone "Oh for the tall tower broken
Memorial is denied:" Tower of Babylon And.. "Tall Tower" = -> The End. Carlos Fiedler J.A. Manubens Gabriel Reizin Jose Tomas Maturana
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