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What would be an example of a personal response to the Edward Hirsch poem "My...

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user100400 | Honors

Posted April 17, 2013 at 6:21 AM via web

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What would be an example of a personal response to the Edward Hirsch poem "My Grandmother's Bed" below:

How she pulled it out of the wall

To my amazement. How it rattled and

Creaked, how it sagged in the middle

And smelled like a used-clothing store.

I was ecstatic to be sleeping on wheels!

 

It rolled when I moved; it trembled

When she climbed under the covers

In her flannel nightgown, kissing me

Softly on the head, turning her back.

Soon I could hear her snoring next to me--

 

Her clogged breath roaring in my ears,

Filling her tiny apartment like the ocean

Until I, too, finally swayed and slept

While a radiator hissed in the corner

And traffic droned on Lawrence Avenue . . .

 

I woke up to the color of light pouring

Through the windows, the odor of soup

Simmering in the kitchen, my grandmother's

Face. It felt good to be ashore again

After sleeping on rocky, unfamiliar waves.

 

I loved to help her straighten the sheets

And lift the Murphy back into the wall.

It was like putting the night away

When we closed the wooden doors again

And her bed disappeared without a trace.

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portd | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted April 17, 2013 at 1:34 PM (Answer #1)

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The Edward Hirsch poem "My Grandmother's Bed" is a testament to a young boy's love for his grandmother, and the wonder of spending a loving night with her in the unique environment of her apartment. His grandmother's bed is actually the focal point of the poem; it represents a sort of ship traversing a sea through the night, or a train on wheels maybe, making its way across an intriguing landscape.

The poem appeals to the senses, with indications of the smells and sounds of the apartment and the bed. This sleepover for the young boy is an exciting event:

    
     "I was ecstatic to be sleeping on wheels!"

This poem also conveys the love that the grandmother has for her grandson...evidenced by her kissing him softly before she rolls over to go to sleep. The young boy is in a cocoon of family safety and peace as he spends the night with his beloved grandmother.

Furthermore, more joy is experienced by the young boy when he sees his grandmother's face the next morning when he awakes. He is also comforted by the fine aromas of cooking food in the apartment. However, the night on the rocking, rickety bed was an experience for the grandson so he is happy to be on terra firma so to speak...back on the solid floor of the apartment...once he is out of the bed and ready to embrace the new day.

The thrilling and yet, even somewhat frightful night is put behind him when they roll the bed back into its place in the wall. He can now live this new day under the guidance of a loving family member. There's also a sense that Edward Hirsch may be alluding, in retrospect, to the death of his grandmother, and that years later he's reminiscing about her in the line...

     "And her bed disappeared without a trace."

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