What are some poetic devices in "My Son My Executioner" by Donald Hall? My son, my executionerI take you in my armsQuiet and small and just astirand whom my body warmsSweet death, small son, our instrument of immortality,your cries and hunger documentour bodily decay.We twenty two and twenty five,who seemed to live forever,observe enduring life in youand start to die together.  

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In this poem, Donald Hall uses metaphor and antithesis to convey the idea that in the body of his "small son" is contained a reminder that the speaker himself is experiencing "bodily decay." Birth and death are opposing, and yet intertwined concepts, and the use of antithesis in this poem ("Sweet death, small son" and "my son, my executioner") serves to underline this. These two ideas of death and life are juxtaposed with particular starkness in the second stanza, where the son is metaphorically described as "our instrument and immortality," and yet, at the same time "document[s] our bodily decay."

The opening line uses another, even more jarring, metaphor to describe the son: "my executioner." The speaker is not suggesting that the son is actually killing him, but that the birth of his son, while helping his genes to live on forever, is also a reminder that time is continually marching onward and that the speaker soon will grow old and die. From the moment the son is born, "we," the parents,...

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