Thursday, April 20, 2006

Poetry Thursday ~ Warren Pryor


I've known this poem for years, and it still evokes a visceral response in me.

Warren Pryor
by Alden Nowlan

When every pencil meant a sacrifice
his parents boarded him at school in town,
slaving to free him from the stony fields,
the meagre acreage that bore them down.

They blushed with pride when, at his graduation,
they watched him picking up the slender scroll,
his passport from the years of brutal toil
and lonely patience in a barren hole.

When he went in the Bank their cups ran over.
They marvelled how he wore a milk-white shirt
work days and jeans on Sundays. He was saved
from their thistle-strewn farm and its red dirt.

And he said nothing. Hard and serious
like a young bear inside his teller's cage,
his axe-hewn hands upon the paper bills
aching with empty strength and throttled rage.

For more poems go to Poetry Thursday.

14 comments:

Sacred Suzie said...

Holy cow, that was powerful Jamie. Thank you for sharing this poem with us. I love the photo too by the way, just awesome.

Anonymous said...

Studied this poem in school and it must be haunting me too, as I find myself searcing for it some 25 years later.

Anonymous said...

i Also studied this poem in school however i don't see why it is so "powerful" or "hunting"

Anonymous said...

CAn anyone plz tell me a short summary of each stanza?
what does axe-hewn hands mean ?

Anonymous said...

Hey, thanks for putting this poem on, i need it for school, and i forgot to take my book home. anyways thanks.

Maribel said...

this poem is deep i feel that we can all realate to this man and the sacrifice his parents made and how he is pressured to be all they expect him to be... no doubt one of the best i've read! :)

Anonymous said...

This poem had so much meaning in it's literary content. The expression that just flows throughout the lines. It is incredible and I can most definitely relate which is why I understand the strong emotions within

Help Please said...

Can anyone please summerize this poem for me? I need it for school and I don't understand it completely.

--Thunder.Bolts said...

For some reason this poem makes me think of residential schools that were so common in Canada and the United States in the early to mid 1900's. Something about this poem makes me think that the parents were somehow native american (or canadian) and trying to get there son of some reserve or another, correct me if I'm wrong.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

seeing as most native american parents did not want to surrender thier children to residential schools, I don't believe that would be the case.

Anonymous said...

This poem is really hard to understand!!

Anonymous said...

Whats interesting about this poem, is how the parents go to extremes to isloate their son from the life that they lead, but in turn they isolate themselves as well.

Anonymous said...

i think this poem is pretty easy to understand once u read it again several times. it means that the son doesnt like to work in a bank but is following his parents decision ... the parents wanted their son to have a good future and not to toil hard to eat a day's meal but they should also know that it is not good for a person to work on something that he hates.