'Four times now i have seen you as another
Man, a grown up friend, less than a father'
- Poet sees dad open up + reveal true feelings 4 times
- 'a grown up friend' Dad more of a friend
- 'Less than a father' - Boy wants dad to be dad rather friend this point. Naivety. Negative on dad. Too young realistic relationship
- Enjambement - Emphasis on another + man. Ambigous seeing father as another man
- 'Four times' repetition later on in poem
'Chinks in the Paternal Mail'
- Thinks of father as kight - strong brave
- Father will not show weakness. Idealised image
- Chinks ' Flaws, doubts, holes in armour
- METAPHOR - true self reveals itself beneath fathers stoic image
3 FIRST TIME
'And in the porch, (among the men), you cried'
- 'Porch' isolated
- 'Among the men' - rather than other man does not think father behaving like man. Crying
- Death leads to honest reaction. Loves son can't maintain brave face. As poet older wants father more emotional + caring
- Flaws make him view father as human, appreciates it.
- 'You cried' emphasises weakness.
4 SECOND TIME
'I left you at the barrier
Was embarassed when you stood a beer'
- Son embarssed dad acting like friend buying alcohol
- Due to wife leaving resorts alcohol coping mechanism. Emphasises family love
- Father trying to connect in more honest way. To show human not 'knight'
5 STANZA 2
'To-day , a sinner, and shy about it
- Change of tense, now present not pas
- Abiguity? Who is sinner? Father or poet
- 'Sinner' is because confessing. But to what? More ambiguity
'What is going on
under that thick grey skull? What confession
Are you preparing?
- Rhetorical question - suggests confussion for son. Doesn't understand dads thought process
- Double meaning - 'Thick' idiotic on the other bulky/solid
- Suggests father is hard to comms with or gain his attention
- 'Under' First word new sentence gives emphasis. Suggests key to figure out what father thinks about lies beneath outer shell
- 'Grey' - Unknown area
- 'Skull' - barrier needs to be broken, solid, just as skull to protect fragile brain, fathers emotions
.......................? Do you kill sins as i would?'
- Older boy wants to know fathers weakness unlike earlier vulnerability
- To know as man not idealised version
- Yet father won't confess to the boy. Only god
- Only here will show vulnerabilty
- Insearching for his own father, he leads to the father'
8 Does poet know his father. Will be truly learn e
' You grunt and slam the door. I watch another
who gropes as awkwardly to know
- 'Father' Ambigous - Who is the father? God? double meaning, literal, figurative
- 1st meaning - Him watching someone else at church, trying to know father but not understanding. Literal?
- 2nd - His father trying to get to know god. Metaphor.
- 'Grunt' - lack of meaningful comms. Father + son
- 'Gropes' - Suggest father struggles to know his father just as much as son with biological
- 'Gropes' awkwardly show uncertainty of movement. Down to sins dad will confess.
Echoes first two lines on thoughts of father
The third time
'by telling me an almost smutty story
In a restauant toliet. We both knew
This was an unprecedented breakthrough'
- 'Smutty' - negative conno, sleazy
- never happened before
- acts like a mate
- end of past