William Wallis’ poem “Family” is devoted to the theme of family togetherness, calm family life, and childhood memories. The author of the poem narrates from the nephew’s perspective showing his emotions as a child visiting his aunt. The picture drawn by the poet reminds of an episode of calm family life having good and bad moments. Probably, the author tried to describe his sensations related relationships between close relatives. Wallis succeeded to get the reader to see a peaceful picture of family life from the first rows. The poetic form used in the poem is free verse (Padgett 27). Free verse is a poetic form that allows not only tracking poet’s style, but understanding the state of his mind, his feelings and mood. (“Writing an Interpretive Essay” 13).
Using multiple poetic tools Wallis succeeded to convey thoughts to the readers. The theme of the family can be traced through an episode from life of the aunt and the nephew engaged in domestics and outdoor work when they “bent to weed” plunging us into peaceful atmosphere of “the stillness of lanky evening” when all necessary things were done and an opportunity of relaxation emerged (“One Moment More” 42). Action in stanza is laid-back and slow. The author uses poetic means to convey the relationships between aunt and nephew saying they “share an occasional remark” when they “tend with deliberate care the precious rows of her garden” (“One Moment More” 42).
Wallis wrote this poem for his daughter and I understand what he wanted to tell to his daughter by writing it. In the first stanza of the poem he conveyed the feelings of a boy sharing domestic and outdoor routine with his aunt. On the one hand he enjoyed “the luminous Kentucky evening” associated with paradise for the child. On the other hand, working in the garden was not what he wanted to do when being a child (Wallis 33).
The second stanza described the memories of a man who looked over “her dependable letters”, probably, when she passed away. The author wanted to show his daughter that she has to share all these precious moments of plain family life when it is possible because some day she would like to enjoy these moments, but it will be impossible. The idea is to enjoy precious moments of togetherness while it is possible.
Wallis expressed love the aunt felt for her nephew by writing that “Aunt Lennie’s heart fluttered” (“One Moment More” 42). Probably, she was living alone and her nephew was her only joy in life and she was busy about her “immaculate apartment” to invite his to her home and share some activities not to feel lonely. By cleaning her house she wanted to show that she was waiting for him thus expressing her care and concern.
Also, the author tried to convey his sensations through sound and meaning. For example, the expression “heart fluttered”, “birds sang hymns”, and “stillness of lanky evening apply to the readers who perceive the world through sounds adding to the overall impression of a calm summer evening in Kentucky.
Aunt Lennie’s love is seen as a constant pattern when the author used metaphors like “quilting mind” and “stillnessof evening”. The environment where nothing changes over the years like safe heaven is described in the poem. The author encourages the readers to prize simple human values like family and love of close people presenting them as something stable, simple for understanding, permanent and everlasting.
Padgett, Ron, Ed. Handbook of Poetic Forms. New York: Teachers and Writers Collective,
Wallis, William. “An Introduction to Lyric Poetry.” Selected Essays. Sherman Oaks: Stone &
-----------. One Moment More. Los Angeles. Lone Wolf Editions, 2008.
----------. “Writing an Interpretive Essay.” Selected Essays. Sherman Oaks: Stone &