The poem Daystar struck me from my first reading of it because I do the same thing this woman did sometimes. The apartment I share with my husband has a balcony where I have planted some flowers, and sometimes when the whether is nice I drag a rocking chair out there into the sun and just sit and let my thoughts wander. This poem reminds me of those moments.
The author uses imagery in the poem to make the experience of this one woman stand out vividly. The first lines of the poem say “she saw diapers steaming on the line / a doll slumped behind the door.” The phrase “steaming on the line” is especially strong, making me able to feel the balmy heat of the day and the bright warm sunshine on my skin. Also, the diapers and doll may serve as symbols in this poem for all the cares that the woman carries in looking after her children. Right now she wants to put all that behind her, and doesn’t want any reminders of it. She wants to escape into a place where there are no demands.
Another visual image in this poem occurs when the woman is looking around her backyard, and she sees “the pinched armor of a vanished cricket, / a floating maple leaf.” These are little things that catch your attention for a second, not things to sit an contemplate about. I think the point is that the woman doesn’t really want to think about anything, she just wants to be. Sometimes she doesn’t even want to look at anything, but instead close her eyes and see only “her own vivid blood.” This image of the woman looking at her own blood makes it seem like this time alone reminds her that she is very “alive” — that she has a free will and can…
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…ut something the mother is doing for herself, while the second poem is all about the sacrifices the father made for his son. Comparing them shows the mother to be the more “selfish” of the two, in that her child and husband are distractions from her revelry, and they are somewhat burdensome to her. But the father is totally self-sacrificing — getting up in the “blueblack cold,” making a fire with “cracked hands that ached.” He takes no thought for his own comfort, except, possibly, when he gets angry. This makes me think if the father had spent some time relaxing like the mother, maybe he wouldn’t have gotten as angry. Maybe thinking of yourself every once in awhile is a good thing, I don’t know, but it is interesting to note the contrast. I think mother in the first poem is person we can relate to, but the father in the second poem is a person we admire.
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