In Memory Of My Mother
By Patrick Kavanagh
As the title suggests, this poem is about someone who’s mother is deceased and he is reminiscing her. It is obvious, yet important, to point out that the author is deeply involved with this poem, as the deceased mother seems to be his own.
In the first stanza it appears that the author cannot, and will not, accept his mother’s death. I feel that he is describing his mother as being like poplar trees. The phrase ‘I see you walking down a lane among the poplars’ makes me think that his mother had a tall, straight and slender figure, because that is what poplar trees are like. Also, the words ‘walking’ and ‘on your way to the station’ indicate that she was active and not stuck in one place all of the time.
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The first line of the second stanza creates a religious and happy atmosphere in the poem, compared to ‘wet clay’ and ‘Monaghan graveyard’ in verse one. It creates this religious atmosphere by the use of the words ‘Mass’ and ‘Sunday’. Also, it creates a happy mood with the word ‘summer’, which I believe to be the happiest time of year. The third line in this stanza make me think that the author’s mother was bossy and fussy, yet practical, when she reminds him to see about the cattle. Again this verse tells me that the author is in denial of his mother’s death by the phrase ‘earthliest words’. (THIS IS NOT A PHRASE)
‘Of green oats in June’ – this line in the third stanza shows that the mother in this poem was contented, full of repose and, again, happy with her life. In this verse the words ‘so rich with life’ show us again that he wants to think, or actually thinks, that his mother is still alive. The last line of this stanza is a line of hope. ‘I see us meeting’ could mean that he will meet her in heaven when he dies too.
In stanza four, the poet useS the word ‘together’, which tells me that he was close to his mother. The words ‘together through the shops and stalls’ suggest to me that his mother helped him through the obstacles of life; I feel that he is associating the shops, stalls and markets in the poem to life’s obstacles. ‘Free in the oriental streets of thought’ – this line leads me to believe that the author wants to be free and he needs some space and time to think.
The author is still trying to convince himself that his mother is not dead in the last verse by writing ‘O you are not lying in the wet clay’. It gives the impression also that he is trying to make himself feel better by using the previous line that I have discussed??? (DOESN’T MAKE SENSE)
At the very end of the poem I think that the poet is finally accepting his mother’s death and has achieved the objective of making himself feel better about it by saying ‘and you smile up at us – eternally’.
The poet repeats the image of his mother ‘lying in the wet clay’ in the final stanza. This is because he knows that she is ‘lying in the wet clay’ but he doesn’t want to think of her in that way. The memories that the poet has of his mother are all very pleasant, and the poem shows that they had a loving and caring relationship.
I thought this poem ‘In Memory of My Mother’ had an overall happy mood’; and even though I did not know his mother, I think that she would be proud of her son for writing such a loving poem about her.
Anna C Davies
Here's what a teacher thought of this essay
This concluding paragraph is not suitable for an analytical essay as it is irrelevant and too personal.