Friday, March 6, 2009

Parent's Pantoum by Carolyn Kizer

Comment on this, please :)

How would you describe the relationship between the daughter and her children?

A pantoum is composed of a series of stanzas with four lines called quatrains. The second and fourth line of the first stanza are used as the first and third of the next stanza. In the last stanza, the first line of the poem is used as the last line of the poem.

At the beginning of Parent's Pantoum, a concerned motherly voice speaks to us. She begins by asking us a question that almost seems desperate, "Where did these enormous children come from?". She realizes that her children have grown up so quickly and they have become," more ladylike that we have ever been," but they still walk in their "fragile heels," which I believe to symbolize their fragile nature in general. It seems that there is a disconnect between the mother and her children, and the fragile heels are possibly their relationship that is on the rocks.

As the poem continues, she seems to be complaining about her children. She realizes that they, "moan about their aging more than we do," and she seems to be frustruated that they can't stop and live for a while. I believe this might be a comment on the fact that the new generation is too uptight and that they can't slow down. Their life is always structured and rigid and it is hard for the older generation of parents to watch them become so busy. She wants her children to appreciate life more, "why don't they brighten up?"

She compares herself to stars, and I believe that maybe she still wants the spotlight, but she knows her life is dedicated to her daughters at that moment. She has to spend her life caring for them now, so they become, "second-childish."

I believe in general this poem is about the disconnect between the old generation of parents and the new generation of children. The children in the poem seem to not want anything to do with their parents, occasionaly throwing them, "morsels of their history," and the parents have a hard time relating to the kids because, "they never listen to their stories." But in the end, the speaker realizes that they are just mirrors of each other, but they are scared to admit that to the other one because they know it's true.

Listen! To Carolyn Kizer read the poem: