We have been studying two poems written by welsh writers. The first poem is called “Daylight Robbery” and it is written by Emyr Humphreys. The second poem is called “From Father to Son” and it is written by Paul Henry. From analysis, we can see that the poems are linked thematically. The theme that links the two poems is love for a family member and also the idea of loss in the sense of family or something belonging.
The first poem “Daylight Robbery” is seemingly about a young boy having a haircut but also, on a deeper level the haircut symbolises the deeper meaning of him growing up while this is happening and it is a poignant reminder that youth passes too soon and too fast. The haircut is a symbolic figure for him losing his youth and therefore we can deduce that the child is growing up during the poem. The poem is written from the first person perspective of the father and this makes the poem much more emotive and personal for the father. This poem see the poet using many enjambement therefore we see a lot of lines ‘running on’ and therefore, this makes the poem more conversational and the tempo and pace of the poem faster. An example of this is “cut hair falling
1st point- the haircut and the deeper meaning
In the first stanza, the seven-year-old boy is said to begin to “see a different boy in the mirror” and that he “glances up, suspiciously”. This is important because as he is getting his haircut, he is seeing the change within him of him growing up and the individual word that stands out for me is “suspiciously” because it gives the impression that he knows something is happening but he doesn’t quite know it yet. Also, the word ‘suspiciously’ is a word that creates a mood of ‘crime’ and gives the poem more of a skeptical atmosphere and image throughout.
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“see a different boy in the mirror””glances up suspiciously”
Furthermore, a “blushing ear” creates the image of an embarrassed person and this relates to the poem as it could be inferred that he is embarrassed about his new haircut and the fact that he is losing it. It could also give the impression that he has grown up and is embarrassed about being young. The hair is metaphorical for is losing his childhood and growing up in the short time of his hair being cut
The second stanza of ‘Daylight Robbery’ is the development of the child growing and changing.
Henry writes “a new child rises out of the blond, unswept curls” and this creates the image of a boy that has ‘died’ and re risen as a new person- the idea of reincarnation. This is metaphorical for him growing up and losing himself for someone new. The individual word that stands out to me in this phrase is “unswept” because, once again, this is used to represent the youthfulness of the boy as the appearance of being “unswept”, is associated with children as they don’t care much about their appearance or taking care of themselves.
“a new child rises out of the blond, unswept curls”
In the second stanza you can see the obvious change in the boy. “The suddenly serious chair” gives the reader the impression that the chair that was once considered “a roundabout” is now not anymore. The hard hitting alliteration describes when the father realises that his little boy is not so little anymore.
The individual word “serious” emphasises how the boy has lost all his childlike personality of fun and imagination. This is linked with loss as the child used to think that the chair was a “roundabout” but now it is “serious” and this shows the loss of youth he used to have
“The suddenly serious chair”
Additionally, Henry carries on the theme of him growing up by stating that “a stranger picks himself out in a glass-veiled identity parade”. The fact that “stranger” is used, immediately gives the impression that he has changed and that he doesn’t know who he is anymore.
He tries to work out who he is in the “identity parade” because he has changed so much that he doesn’t know who he is anymore.
“a stranger picks himself out in a glass-veiled identity parade”
In the last and final stanza, the boy and his father are said to “turn a corner”. This could be taken as though he is turning a corner in the street but in more metaphorical terms it can be inferred as though he is turning a corner in his life and that he has changed and grown up.
“turn a corner”
Towards the poem’s ending, “his hand slips from mine like a final, forgotten strand snipped from its lock”. This is the defining moment of when the boy shows that he has grown up once and for all. The individual word “slips” creates the image of a boy letting go of the hand subtly and maybe that the boy is a bit embarrassed, and gives the impression that it was slow and that the father wasn’t ready to let go just yet. The hand is symbolic for letting the boy go into life and have freedom like a father would to his child at a wedding. “Like a final forgotten strand snipped from its lock” is significant because it shows how the child has left behind his father and their relationship and “snipped” is used to describe the quick short, sharp transition from the boy to a man.
This has big effect on the reader because this line is emotive and many audience members could relate to this from personal experience.
“his hand slips from mine like a final, forgotten strand snipped from its lock”
The second poem ‘From Father to Son’ is about a father metaphorically passing on a gift or a memory to his son. It goes through the stages of the father and how his life and his son’s life changed after he came back from the war. It is linked to the author as Emyr Humphreys was born in 1919, just after the First World War was ending. His father went to war and got injured. At first the poem was called ‘Ancestor Worship 1970’ which reminisced his father but then it got changed to ‘From Father to Son’. The poem, I think, is written in a third person perspective. Not the third person perspective of the son or the father, but someone who is onlooking the scene that is taking place but can feel the emotions of both of the characters- like a narrator.
They don’t have an opinion, they are just there to tell the story and get the point across. I think this because of lines such as “your father” and “comes towards you”. They are all using personal pronouns but they are just being narrated.
Intro about the poem from father to sonperspective of the narrator
Straightaway it can be inferred that the father is dead as Humphreys writes “there is no limit to the number of times your father can come to life”. I get the impression that the coming to life is not literal but that the father is coming to life in a memory. It also implies that the son thinks about the father many times as he is saying that “there is no limit” and the tone you get from it sounds like he knows what he is talking about and has experienced it.
“there is no limit to the number of times your father can come to life”.
There is a quote that is used, which creates good imagery. “His face blue from the wind that always blows in the outer darkness” creates the image of a man standing outside, freezing cold. The individual word “blue” represents the sadness of man and creates the image of a scene that is lonely and full of misery. “Always” is used to show that it is continuous (the wind blowing) and that it never stops. It could be inferred that the wind is doing it to be harsh and that it is unforgiving in these circumstances.
Finally, “the outer darkness” creates the image of a dark place that links with death and “outer” is as though the father is outside of society.
“His face blue from the wind that always blows in the outer darkness”
The strength of love is portrayed well when the poet says “Unwilling to intrude and yet driven at the point of love” because even though the father doesn’t want to go he has been literally “driven” to do so because he has so much love willing him to go over.
“Unwilling to intrude and yet driven at the point of love”
In the second stanza, it starts with “you may think” and this is important because the reader is being involved with the personal pronoun “you” but also because the Humphreys is trying to tell the reader that they are wrong about what they are thinking.
“you may think
Another quote in the second stanza is “but when he comes he comes with all his winters and all his wounds”. The poet is talking about when the father arrives home from the warThe “all his” is repetition and this is effective because reinforces the message and emphasises it. The individual word “winters” suggests that he is close to death and “wounds” is creating the image of a man who has many scars- mentally and physically- As he has just returned from war. This with “he stands shivering in the empty street” emphasises the fact that he is lonely and that he is a social outcast since being home from the warm.
Also the word “shivering” is particularly effective as it shows just how cold and weak and helpless he is.
“but when he comes he comes with all his winters and all his wounds”
A very effective simile used is “Cold and worn like a tramp at the end of a journey”. It could be describing that the son now doesn’t recognise the father and that the father has lost everything. Also “worn” gives the impression that the father is tired and damaged just like a tramp is. The “journey” that has ended might’ve been him giving up on life as he is so old that he cannot carry on.
On the other hand though, it could also represent the end of their relationship as the son is losing sight of what once was happy life with his dad and moving on.
“Cold and worn like a tramp at the end of a journey”
Caesura in the first line of the final stanza creates a slow pace to end the poem. One that creates a mood of sadness and depression and this has a big effect on the whole poem as it shows the love that the son possessed for the father. “Then, before you can touch him he is gone”. This quote is slow paced but it shows just how fast that the father leaves. The “touch him” is very emotional because it shows the physical connection that the son had with his father and how he’s longing for being able to touch him again. It can also create a picture in the reader’s mind of a child reaching out and a father disappearing.
“Then, before you can touch him he is gone”
The final sentence of the poem includes repetition of “a little more of his” in the quote “a little more of his weariness a little more of his love.”The repetition is so important as it really hammers home that everytime he comes back he leaves a little more of something else for the son. “A little more of his love” suggests that the father is leaving his love behind and that one day it is going to run out. You can infer this from the negative tone that the stanza holds.
“a little more of his weariness a little more of his love.”