Li Young Lee- The Poet

by meda123
Last updated 7 years ago

Discipline:
Language Arts
Subject:
Literature

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Li Young Lee- The Poet

Famous Poems to be DiscussedA StoryEarly in the MorningThe Gift

Li Young Lee

Family rituals are like the glue that bond members to one another, giving them both meaning and identity. In this poem, Lee emphasizes the importance of his mother combing her hair early in the morning before the birds arrive. The descriptive details used to describe his mother shows that this might be an organized and efficiently run household. It talks about how his mother's hair is pulled up into a tight bun and then let out by his father at night. This makes us see that simple traits and rituals such as combing hair can carry meaning beyond the appearance.

Biography1. Li-Young Lee was born in 1957 in Jakarta, Indonesia of Chinese parents2. In 1959, his father, after spending a year as a political prisoner, fled Indonesia with his family3. Settled in Seattle; In 1990 Li Young Lee traveled to China and Indonesia to do personal research4. Started writing poems when studying at the University of Pittsburgh5. He was influenced by the Chinese poets Li Bo and Tu Fu

Li Young Lee's father did not provide his son a stable place to live during the 1960s and 1970s,because of the fact he was a political prisoner that escaped from jail. Because of this, his father felt as if he could not please his son and provide him a permanent shelter and was scared that he will go away at such a young age. This poems is about a father who feels as if he cannot live up to a child's standards as a parent. But the overall theme of the story is for parents. Don't worry if you mess up, your children will still love you.

A StorySad is the man who is asked for a storyand can't come up with one.His five-year-old son waits in his lap.Not the same story, Baba. A new one.The man rubs his chin, scratches his ear.In a room full of books in a worldof stories, he can recallnot one, and soon, he thinks, the boywill give up on his father.Already the man lives far ahead, he seesthe day this boy will go. Don't go!Hear the alligator story! The angel story once more!You love the spider story. You laugh at the spider.Let me tell it!But the boy is packing his shirts,he is looking for his keys. Are you a god,the man screams, that I sit mute before you?Am I a god that I should never disappoint?But the boy is here. Please, Baba, a story?It is an emotional rather than logical equation,an earthly rather than heavenly one,which posits that a boy's supplicationsand a father's love add up to silence.

Early in the MorningWhile the long grain is softeningin the water, gurglingover a low stove flame, beforethe salted Winter Vegetable is slicedfor breakfast, before the birds,my mother glides an ivory combthrough her hair, heavyand black as calligrapher's ink.She sits at the foot of the bed.My father watches, listens forthe music of combagainst hair.My mother combs,pulls her hair backtight, rolls itaround two fingers, pins itin a bun to the back of her head.For half a hundred years she has done this.My father likes to see it like this.He says it is kempt.But I knowit is because of the waymy mother's hair fallswhen he pulls the pins out.Easily, like the curtainswhen they untie them in the evening.

The GiftTo pull the metal splinter from my palmmy father recited a story in a low voice.I watched his lovely face and not the blade.Before the story ended, he'd removedthe iron sliver I thought I'd die from.I can't remember the tale,but hear his voice still, a wellof dark water, a prayer.And I recall his hands,two measures of tendernesshe laid against my face,the flames of disciplinehe raised above my head.Had you entered that afternoonyou would have thought you saw a manplanting something in a boy's palm,a silver tear, a tiny flame.Had you followed that boyyou would have arrived here,where I bend over my wife's right hand.Look how I shave her thumbnail downso carefully she feels no pain.Watch as I lift the splinter out.I was seven when my fathertook my hand like this,and I did not hold that shardbetween my fingers and think,Metal that will bury me,christen it Little Assassin,Ore Going Deep for My Heart.And I did not lift up my wound and cry,Death visited here!I did what a child doeswhen he's given something to keep.I kissed my father.

The Gift is a poem about fatherly love and how it can affect a child. The "gift" that is talked about in the poem is tenderness that is shown by Lee's father as he removes an iron sliver from Lee's hand. He does with such gentle and tender movements that Lee does not feel it at all as he intently pays attention to the story his father is telling him for distraction. Then in the future, Lee's wife is hurt with a splinter stuck in her hand and he uses the same movements his dad used to remove the splinter from his wife's hand; tender and gentle movements. As he does this he remembers his father and the gift he is now using for his wife. Tender and gentle movments that expressed love and took away the pain. The overall theme that is shows in this poems is the long-lasting effect of a father's love on a child.

PRANATHI MEDA


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