Elegy for My Father's Father

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Elegy for my father’s father
James K. Baxter
Basic – First Impressions:
* Different kind of title – very direct
* Written in past tense – reflection
* Written is second person – author describing the death of someone else * Idea of ‘Death’ – universal idea
* Poem is one stanza long (written on two pages but actually one stanza) * Tone is dull and slow
* References to nature and water
* Free Verse
* Ideas of poem (general):
* Death – natural process
* Remembrance of the past
* Grief/Praise
* Time
* Aging
* Skill
* Seasons – change
* Phases of life

Analysis:
‘He knew in the hour he died
That his heart had never spoken’
* ‘He’ – personal pronoun
* Used to refer specifically to the author’s ‘Father’s Father’ * ‘in the hour he died’ – didn’t know before of after * Point of realisation – stuck in a period of realisation * Long death – peaceful or painful?

* ‘died’ – strong with more impact instead of ‘passed away’ * ‘his heart had never spoken – personification
* the father’s father never truly expressed his real feelings or emotions * He was more reserved and detached – that was his personality * ‘heart’ – centre of emotions and essential organ for life * “The human heart feels things the eyes cannot see, and knows what the mind cannot understand” * ‘had never spoken’ – silenced/unemotional

* The heart has not functioned it part – he underestimated his feelings but realised too late * Masculine character – strong figure linked to the ‘tall tower’ ‘In eighty years of days

O for the tall tower broken’
* ‘eighty years of days’ – used instead of eight years of life * Each day was unique and a challenge for Baxter’s grandfather * Draws out the time – shows adds to the distance shown in the title * ‘O for the tall tower broken’ – ‘tall tower’ metaphor for life. * Life is a process of different...
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