Theodore Roethke - My Papa's Waltz
From My Papa's Waltz:
"The hand that held my wrist
Was battered on one knuckle;
At every step you missed
My right ear scraped a buckle" (Roethke 13).
"Then waltzed me off to bed
Still clinging to your shirt."
The child knows its father by him being drunk alot. "the hand that held my wrist was battered on one knuckle" is talking about a father who works really hard and when he comes home he wants to dance with is child. The child keeps hanging on although his breath is hard to stand. The child doesn't want to let go of its father because they don't want to lose their father.
The first time reading this poem I was thinking drunk father = abuse poem. But after reading it and trying to understand one stanza at a time made me realize this is just a family poem. It is sweet how the father waltzes with his child.
Did anyone else think of it as an abuse poem at first?