“Advice to my Son”
In the poem “Advice to My Son", the father is trying to give his son advice on choices he should make in life and how those choices have an impact on our life's journey and shape our being. How different options can have penalties and will eventually contribute to the course of one's life. In the first stanza he states, "live your days as if each one may be your last,” essentially saying that you need to take in the moment and appreciate the present, because tomorrow is not promised. He then goes to say “but at the same time, plan long range,” in other words, while you're enjoying life plan for the future. He then says, “if you survive the shattered windshield and the bursting shell you will arrive at our approximation here below of heaven or hell,” meaning windshield he is referring to that of a car's windshield and if you survive a car crash which would be an unexpected accident in life or He then goes on to say that if you survive the bursting shell as in a gun's bullet, probably in referring to bullets and being shot using a metaphor of dying. You then reach a chance to choose a life in heaven or hell after you die. So live each day as if it were your last. He also advises his son to be specific between the differences in peony and roses and plant them between the squash and spinach, turnips and tomatoes, using symbolism in these two lines. The peony and roses represent beauty and the veggies represent substance, because the body cannot survive on just beauty alone. Beauty mixed with necessity leads to a full life. Beauty alone cannot sustain us, but sustenance without beauty has no purpose. Then he tells his son to "marry a pretty girl after seeing her mother.” This is good advice because some women are products of their mother, which in return foreshadows what her daughter (future wife) will be like. This shows you this is a Father speaking to his son because most fathers tell their sons this while growing up.
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