Could I have an explanation of the poem " Extended Family " ? Yet like grandfather I bathe before the village crow the dry chlorine water my only Ganges the naked Chicago bulb a cousin of the...

Could I have an explanation of the poem " Extended Family " ?


Yet like grandfather
I bathe before the village crow

the dry chlorine water
my only Ganges

the naked Chicago bulb
a cousin of the Vedic sun

slap soap on my back
like father

and think
in proverbs

like me
I wipe myself dry

with an unwashed
Sears turkish towel

like mother
I hear faint morning song

(though here it sounds
Japanese)

and three clear strings
nextdoor

through kitchen
clatter

like my little daughter
I play shy

hand over crotch
my body not yet full

of thoughts novels
and children

I hold my peepee
like my little son

play garden hose
in and out
the bathtub

like my grandson
I look up

unborn
at myself

like my great
great-grandson

I am not yet
may never be

my future
dependent

on several
people

yet
to come

Asked on by vijayrp6

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katbritton's profile pic

katbritton | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Hi Vijayrp6,

Who wrote this uplifting and ironic poem?

This poem has two major elements to it.  The extended family and kinship.  It is important to understand the difference between them.

As a man, it is important to someday get married and have children to carry on your family name and to keep your bloodline flowing. The poet sees little things in himself that remind him of his grandfather and his father.  He hears his wife singing and it reminds him of his mom, except now the songs are in Japaneese. This statement suggests his wife is of Oriental descent and he is not.   Just as the poet sees himself similar to  his elders, he also sees the pattern growing in his little daughter and son. A man, his father and grandfather along with his children all carry their family blood line.  A mans brothers and sisters also carry the same blood.

They are called your kinship.  Your extended family are family members that do not carry your blood. Your extended family is your wife, her parents and brothers and sisters.  Your extended family also includes the wife and husband that your brother and sister marry.  But their kids are not extentions...they are kinship because they carry your brother or sisters blood.

The poet wonders about the types of things his grandchildren and greatgrandchildren will do that will remind them of him.  And the poet then realizes the importance of his blood line and the birth of his descendants all rely on people he doesnt know yet, and all members of his extended family.

Isn't that a cool poem?

Sources:

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