Childhood Memories in My Papa's Waltz by Theodore Roethke and Piano by D.H. Lawrence

613 Words 3 Pages
Childhood Memories in "My Papa's Waltz" by Theodore Roethke and "Piano" by D.H. Lawrence

"My Papa's Waltz" by Theodore Roethke and "Piano" by D.H. Lawrence are two poems in which grown men recall memories of their childhood. "My Papa's Waltz" has a quietly sad, almost resigned tone as Roethke relives his nightly dances with his father as a young boy. Lawrence's "Piano" is somewhat dreamy as a man is taken back by a song to his childhood. While both are presented to us through similar personas, striking differences are apparent throughout the two poems.

"My Papa's Waltz" is the pensive recollection of a boy's nightly waltz around the house in the arms of his father. Roethke's poem gives a voice to the often silent internal
…show more content…
And yet at the end of the stanza, we are shown just how defenseless the child is as his father drags him around the room, scraping his son's ear with his belt buckle. Roethke makes the most important statement in the last line of his poem, "? waltzed me off to bed Still clinging to your shirt" (479). Clinging, and all that the word implies: fear, sadness, love and admiration, is both the greatest strength and obstacle the boy will encounter in his relationship with his father. In contrast to "My Papa's Waltz", D. H. Lawrence's "Piano" is a man's remembrance of a happy childhood. Lawrence sets a dream-like tone in the first stanza of his poem as we are taken back through the years to a man's boyhood. Taken back by a song, the man is transported back to the Sundays of his childhood where he would sit beneath the piano as his mother played hymns. While melancholy, Lawrence shows us that his persona yearns for the happy childhood he once had with the line, "The glamour Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past" (574). The author establishes a connection with readers through his use of music as a means of passage through time with the statement, "In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song Betrays me back,?" (574). Through this use of music and the
Open Document