Walking Away by Cecil Day-Lewis

Published: 2021-06-29 07:03:51
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Category: English

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Poems from different cultures can help us gain an insight into everyday life for people from different countries or of different religion. The relationship between parent and child is different in every family, but with most, the child is often influenced by its parents. This relationship changes as time goes by, mainly as the children would like more freedom as they get older, and believe that their parents need to learn to trust them more and give them independence. We have been studying poems which express the parent-child relationship from different points of view.

'Walking Away' by Cecil Day-Lewis is written from the fathers point of view. It is generally about the emotions he went through as the time came to let go of his son.

In the first stanza, the poet creates the image of a very poignant memory. He writes, "It is eighteen years ago, almost to the day." From this I can tell that he still remembers this day very clearly; it is still very vivid in his mind. The phrase, "almost to the day" makes me think that the poet doesn't just think of that day on its anniversary, but he thinks of it persistently.

Day-Lewis also talks about change and transformations. We read, "A sunny day with leaves just turning, the touch-lines new ruled - since I watched you play." This tells me that the poet is talking about a time of new beginnings and how his life is now different because of these changes. By using the word "sunny", Day-Lewis instantly puts an image of happiness in the readers head. However, the word "turning" contradicts with this and suggests that the contentment faded. When the poet uses the phrase, "touch-lines new ruled" I think he is suggesting that his son is moving on and feels that he will be able to choose not to listen to his father anymore.

It is clear that that the poet believes his son was dragged away from him. He writes, "Like a satellite wrenched from its orbit, go drifting away." This makes me think that Day-Lewis is trying to show that a son should always revolve around his father; he should always need his father to be there, keeping him on track, or keeping him in his 'orbit'. I think that the poet uses 'orbit' do describe himself, the father, his son being the 'satellite'. By using the word "wrenched" the poet creates the image of something being pulled with great force and maliciousness. On the other hand, the word "drifting" makes me think of something moving very gradually, as if carried by water, taking nature's course. I think this relates to the poet's son by showing that he is going through the natural stages of life, growing up like every child should.

In the second verse, the poet shows himself feeling as though his son isn't ready to face the outside world alone yet. He writes, "A half-fledged thing set free into a wilderness". This helps me to see that Day-Lewis believes that his son is still only a young boy to him, and is definitely not ready to leave home yet. When the poet writes, "half-fledged" I think that he is referring to birds and how they leave the nest when they are fully-fledged. Therefore the poet is again referring to the fact that his son isn't quite ready. By using the word "wilderness", Day-Lewis creates an image of an unsafe environment which no loving parent should let their child go alone.

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