Responding to the Poem: The Potato

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Responding to the Poem
Deanna Gulston

1. In this poem, there is more than one meaning to such phrases as bring us to our senses and cold comfort. What do you think the poet intends these phrases to mean?
In this poem phrases such as cold comforrt could mean that he is happy to be spending time alone with his mother, making memories. The comfort is cold because she is ill and she is going to die soon.

Phrases such as brings us to our senses could mean that even though the poet and his mother are having a good time peeling potatoes, his mother is ill and they are brought to their senses that the happy times will soon be brought to an end. 2. The potato is an important symbol in Ireland because of its value as a food staple and reminder of the terrible potato famine in the 19th century. What personal symbolic value does it have in this poem?

In this poem the potatoe is a symbol of time shared with the poets mother, time when it is just him and his mother, and I believe the poem is a memory he is recalling of him and her peeling potatoes. 3. Instead of telling us how important peeling potatoes with his mother was, the poet shows us using vivid images, or word pictures. Name the images in the poem that you think are most powerful.

Some of the word pictures that I think are the most powerful in this poem are: Gleaming in a bucket of clean water. And again let fall. Little pleasant splashes. These few lines make me visualize a large silver pot filled with crystal clear water, and little pieces of peeled potatoe skin.

I remember her head bent towards my head, her breath in mine... This line makes me paints a clear picture of the poet and his mother sitting very close together, so close that their breath becomes intertwined. 4. What is implied about the parish priest?

It is implied that the parish priest is there because the poets mother is dying. He is praying for her and blessing her before she passes away. 5. How does this poem benefit by...
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