An explication of "Late Poem to My Father."

Essay by badballCollege, UndergraduateA+, November 2005

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"Late Poem to My Father"

Sharon Olds.

Suddenly I thought of you

as a child in that house, the unlit rooms

and the hot fireplace with the man in front of it,

silent. You moved through the heavy air

in your physical beauty, a boy of seven,

helpless, smart, there were things the man

did near you, and he was your father,

the mold by which you were made. Down in the

cellar, the barrels of sweet apples,

picked at their peak from the tree, rotted and

rotted, and past the cellar door the creek ran and ran, and something was

not given to you, or something was

taken from you that you were born with, so that

even at 30 and 40 you set the oily medicine to your lips

every night, the poison to help you

drop down unconscious. I always thought the

point was what you did to us

as a grown man, but then I remembered that

child being formed in front of the fire, the

tiny bones inside his soul

twisted in greenstick fractures, the small

tendons that hold the heart in place

snapped. And what they did to you

you did not do to me. When I love you now,

I like to think I am giving my love

directly to that boy in the fiery room,

as if it could reach him in time.

"Late Poem to My Father", a poem by Sharon Olds, carries us on a insightful journey through forgiveness and acceptance. The author's ultimate destination is understanding - the understanding of her father through his life as a child.

Initially, the title seemed to suggest th)at the father had passed away. The poet, it seemed, wished to express final thoughts to her father though it world...