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"John Kerry walks into a bar and the bartender says "Hey buddy, why the long face?" - Flofloomspaerhr

One Friday Morning

  • Date Submitted: 07/12/2011 02:46 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 69 
  • Words: 904
  • Essay Grade: no grades
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My father stands in the warm evening
On the porch of my first house.
I am four years old and growing tired
I see his head among the stars,
The glow of his cigarette. Redder
Than the summer moon riding
Low over the old neighborhood.We
Are alone and he ask me if I am happy
“Are you happy?” I cannot answer.
I do not really understand the word
And the voice, my father’s voice, is not
His voice, but somehow thick and choked,
A voice I have not heard before, but
Heard often since. He bends and passes
A thumb beneath each of my eyes
The cigarette is gone, but I can smell
The tiredness that hangs on his breath
He has found nothing, and he smiles
And holds my head with both his hands
Then he lifts me to his shoulder,
And now I too am among the stars,
As tall as he. Are you happy? I say.
He nods in answer, Yes! oh yes! oh yes!
And in that new voice he says nothing
Holding my head tight against his head
His eyes closed up against the starlight,
As though those tiny blinking eyes
Of light might find a tall, gaunt child
Holding his child against the promises
Of autumn, until the boy slept
Never to waken up in that world again


Philip Levine (b. January 10, 1928, Detroit Michigan) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American Poet. He taught for many years at California State University Fresno. Until recently he was the Distinguished Poet in Residence for the Creative Writing Program at New York University. The speaker of the poem I will termed as a “he” because the poet is a male. The progression of the poem is very climatic. In other words, It signifies a turning point like most works. For example, line #21, which illustrates where “father and son” meet eye to eye (thus, allowing the son to bask in the glow of the starlight with his head up in the air). In addition he proceeded to ask his father the question that his father asked him early in the poem “Are you happy?” The speaker’s point of view points to the reflection of...


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