In a poem the writer lets out their thoughts and feelings in either a figurative or literal manner. In many cases nobody other than the writer understands the true meaning of the poem, but many so called "experts", attempt to figure it out. The poem "My Papa's Waltz", by Theodore Roethke, does not reflect his childhood with his father, but rather reflects his thought and feelings the day he wrote this poem. As in many cases, something not meant to be taken seriously or literally, is taken much too seriously and literally.
Today, we live in a world where we have a hard time distinguishing fact from fiction. One of the most controversial and mistaken piece of literature in today's world would be the Christian/Catholic Bible. The Catholic Church's position on their bible changes almost as often as a new Pope is voted in. Sometimes it is asked for you to take the bible word for word, other ...view middle of the document...
Dead, until it is read once again.
At the age of 15 Theodore Roethke lost his dad, from that moment on he had a much harder time with life, opting out of Law School after a semester, going from a possibly rich and famous life, to a more famous and happy life, one in which he became a poet and writer. He never specifically said anything about his poems relating to his dad, as throughout his whole life he was very touchy on the subject, but many theories are applied, and I'm sure he's sitting somewhere very pleased that everyone is pondering over him so much and they still can't get into that funny brain of his. He most likely would not have put down his dad, because he was throughout his life, "Living life for my dad". I doubt even the suggestion that it might be about something such as abuse would bring horror to his face, but he might laugh, knowing the true meaning is a guy seeing a gay guy and they start dancing while the first guy's wife is off in the corner frowning. You know rights to free speech were a lot more limited back then.
In conclusion I find Theodore Roethke's "My Papa's Waltz", to be a poem not necessarily about anything, but rather a summation of a day in the life of Theodore Roethke. (No it's not a book) I feel, in all the Theodore Roethke poems I read on the internet there is always a little something hinting towards life or his father. I believe in this poem the last two lines are the only lines hinting towards his father and life. "Then waltzed me off to bed, Still clinging to your shirt." This part recognizes that life has put him to bed because he is tired, and he is still clinging to your shirt, meaning he is still clinging to life. "My Papa's Waltz", by Theodore Roethke is a poem that we will never understand, a poem though over analyzed will always mean the same thing in Theodore's heart and a different thing in ours, a poem that is not ours but still has a meaning to us, a meaning just as correct as that of Mr. Roethke's.