Posted by Joe on .
Okay so I have poem here that I need to interpret including I have to discuss the issue of gender as it relates to this poem. So here's the poem
"A Place For Everything"
When my mother
spoke of sadness and widows,
my father muttered "Well, well,"
and shook the paper open
in front of his face.
Now fifty years together
isn't enough. I was wrong about her,
a widow three days who will not
sit in his easy chair.
In their lving room I wait to lift.
whatever she wants and then
as if I were a boy again wandering
at dusk I hear her voice fly
across the woods to call me home
A place for everything,
I thought was what she loved.
On their unmade bed-a torn envelope
its birthday card he must have hidden
beneath his socks, signed in x's and o's
a boy's hand, a boy's gesture.
Seventy tomorrow, she asks
for help tonight to sort suspenders,
trousers creased to their cuffs,
the two-tone shirts she chose for him
and washed and folded and set into a drawer.
The only hint are teacher gave us is "X's and O's" obviously stands for hugs and kisses, and that the birthday card the father put and hid in the drawer. Now I know it's apparently the wife's birthday the next day but I can't get beyond that surface level detail. "a widow three days":does that mean her husband died three days ago? If anyone could help me I would really appreciate it.
I've written down random some thoughts regarding the poem. Let me know what you guys think as I would appreciate it.
On the surface the poem looks like a story of the love of a couple who has been married forever until the husband died three days ago. With the birthday card we get the idea the two loved each other until death parted them, but did they really love each other? Unmade bed, torn envelope are possible symbols of their actual relationship. Even the son of the couple, the narrator didn’t think she loved him. She loved the place for everything not him. She spoke of sadness before he died. The author is trying to say people marry others even if they are not the one due to pressures from society to settle down and take the traditional path. If you don’t follow that traditional path you are some sort of outcast or old maid, and the idea is hammered into your head that you will die alone if you don’t get settled down soon. She was twenty when she got married.
Poetry Part II -
Hmmmm, you realize don't you that for every reader of a poem, there will be a different interpretation.
To me, she is a person who for 50 years has been the person in the family who saw that all the nitty gritty, bits and pieces, tiny acts of love were taken care of. This is everything in its place...which she is doing after he dies.... putting everything in the place it has been forever.
Papa is lke many men, doesn't want to deal with the realities out loud of "life and death"... that is the reason that he is hiding in his paper...not because he doesn't know, but doesn't want to acknowledge.
She doesn't sit in the chair because that is not "her place", but the act of keeping things neat is not just for the sake of neatness, it is her act of love... her PLACE in the family is to see that everything is fine for everyone else.
The bed is unmade because she found the love letter hidden in the drawer...and she just can't do any more.... she has lost her love, her reason for doing it.
This is MY interpretation and not one inch better than yours.
Poetry Part II -
In fact GuruBlue's interpretation is probably two inches worse.