The father recounts watching his son play football for the first time and feels worried about his son as he watches him walk away from him. 18 Years later he still feels upset but realises that its part of nature and he must accept it.

Ideas and Themes:

  • Family relationships
  • Getting older
  • Memory

Structure:

  • First 2 stanzas are about memory and final 2 is about his pain.
  • Final 2 lines concludes his point about his pain but also his acceptance

Form:

  • First person narrative emphasises first person experiences.
  • Use of enjambment and caesura contribute to feeling of poem, which sounds like natural speech. Regular ABACA rhyme scheme shows steadiness of parental love.
  • Repetition of “A” rhyme scheme reflects how memory still pains him today

Language:

  • “Almost to the day”- He remembers the exact day. Signifies importance.
  • “Leaves just turning”- Transition from summer to autumns shoes turning point in sons life
  • “touch-lines new ruled”- New boundaries are being made with father and son with his new independence. Signifies the separation between them both
  • “Like a satellite, wrenched from orbit go drifting”- Negative simile as satellites shouldn’t not be in orbit. “Drifting” shows that the sons is helpless and emphasises how the father is not central in the son’s life anymore. “Wrenched” sounds forceful and shows separation was painful and sudden. Enjambment makes this sound unexpected.
  • “away, behind a scatter of boys”- Enjambment shows that how boy turns away from father and goes towards his friends
  • “Half-fledged thing set free” Bird metaphor shows he’s not ready to go yet
  • “Who finds no path where path should be” repetition of “path” shows how father wants son to find the right path. Sees him as helpless.
  • “Like a winged seed loosed from its parent stem”- Natural simile contrasts with “wrenched” used earlier and shows fathers acceptance is rising and understands its natural.
  • “Saying what God alone could perfectly show” Religious imagery shows that only God could let his son go. Showing it’s extremely difficult for humans to do so.
  • “And how love is proved in the letting go”- steady and peaceful rhythm shows he’s reached a philosophical conclusion and he needs to prove his love and let him go

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