I read this one on the Writer's Almanac this morning and I am stooped. What the heck is this about?
Poem: "The New Father," by Russell Edson, from The Tormented Mirror (University of Pittsburgh Press).
The New Father
A young woman puts on her father's clothes and says to her mother, I'm your new husband.
Just you wait till your father gets home, scolds the mother.
He's already home, says the young woman.
Please don't do this to your father, he's worked so hard all his life, says the mother.
I know, says the young woman, he needs a rest.
When the father gets home he's dressed in his daughter's clothes. And as he steps into the house he calls, hi mom and dad, I'm home ...
Taking on and giving up responsibilities? His work seems pretty odd overall. There's some biographical information and more poems at [www.webdelsol.com] />
The following reminds me of a science fiction short story (probably from one of the Dangerous Visions anthologies). I don't remember the writer, but the premise was that, while you were only allowed one child, the count didn't start until about age 5. This meant that people would have babies, and then dispose of them as they stopped being adorably dependent.
A father with a huge eraser erases his daughter. When he finishes there's only a red smudge on the wall.
His wife says, where is Amyloo?
She's a mistake, I erased her.
What about all her lovely things? asks his wife.
I'll erase them too.
All her pretty clothes? . . .
I'll erase her closet, her dresser--shut up about Amyloo! Bring your head over here and I'll erase Amyloo out of it.
The husband rubs his eraser on his wife's forehead, and as she begins to forget she says, hummm, I wonder whatever happened to Amyloo? . . .
Never heard of her, says her husband.
And you, she says, who are you? You're not Amyloo, are you? I don't remember your being Amyloo. Are you my Amyloo, whom I don't remember anymore? . . .
Of course not, Amyloo was a girl. Do I look like a girl?
. . . I don't know, I don't know what anything looks like anymore. .
Maybe "The New Father," by Russell Edson, is about caring for elderly parents.
Well, ok, but I was thinking transexuals. Too obvious I guess.
Convinced there must be more to it after the ellipsis, I clicked on the RealAudio at [www.writersalmanac.org] to listen to Keillor recite it, but that is all there was!
Still, it ain't a pome by any stretch of the definition, so it is not surprising it also makes no sense, huh?
Yes, I know you guys perfer traditional rhymes and meters...not I though, and when I find out the meaning I will either love it or hate it. Thanks for tyring, Hugh.
True, I prefer rhyme and meter, but this one lacks every attribute of a poem except the author having called it one. Well, one could claim it has two stanzas, sure.
Putting aside whether it's a poem or not, I think it's about perception. The wife percieves her husband's identity as being provider and support for the family and thinks he'll be destroyed if the daughter takes on his role. The daughter appears to be sick of her dependent role so, in the mother's eyes usurps her father. Just as you are hooked on that one, the father turns up dressed as the daughter and you realise that the daughter has realised her father is sick of his role, understands him better than the mother, and has liberated him from it (we aren't told if she is also liberating herself from a role she didn't want, or just sacrificing herself to become the person her mother needs - I'd think the former; the mother needs a support and a dependent, so the two just swap roles). It has a ring of King Lear - the perceptions of what a good daughter is versus the actuality - and is a neat lateral theoretical solution to the problem, if impractical .
Thank you Marian2, that makes sense. It seems so simple now.
You will find out 'a' meaning, I'm not sure you'll find 'the' meaning.
Well said Pam
I guess there are better things to write poetry about, but I admire the new approach of it.
I think marian2's hit this one the best.