Theodore Roethke’s “My Papa’s Waltz”
Theodore Roethke’s poem “My Papa’s Waltz” is a story about how a man recalls the story of his father coming home one day and waltzing about though it might seem as a frightful journey it is not. The poem’s tone and imagery convey a sense of threat and deeply describes a scene that most likely only lapped for a couple of minutes. Illustrating the picture of a lovely scene in only a few words seems to be a feat but this poem illustrates it perfectly. All of the action is revolved around Roethke but shows deep imagery of his father in the same. Roethke seems to have deep feelings for his father both good and bad and uses this poem to showcase his feelings. But the last line of the poem is the key to literal freedom, to read words for what they are, rather than what they could be.
The title of a poem tells a story of its own as it is the first thing you see when looking down at a paper its bold text and vague words. The first thing noticed “my” which is a word that gives a hint that this is a story told in the first person about something that has great enough meaning to call it your own. Second “Papa’s” a very strong word to use in a literal sense that he is to call his father papa instead of father or dad it gives a more of childish connection. And the final word gives even greater attraction to me “Waltz” would you say waltz would be the literal sense of the word as to be dancing around the room, or in the metaphorical sense to where it would re-occur. At first glance it might seem to be a poem of a fathers dance but you can’t read a book by its cover.
The lines explore the spiritual and physical relationship between father and son. “The whiskey on your breath – could make a small boy dizzy;” the first line of the poem showcases his father to be looked upon as a drunk enough for someone to be disgusted by the stench. Although it was a boy and not a grown man the...