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In "My Papa's Waltz," the speaker in the poem is the son of "Papa."
In the poem, the speaker recalls a special memory of his father, using vivid sensory details (the smell of liquor, his father's battered knuckle, the belt buckle that scrapes the boy's ear, his father's palm caked with dirt, etc.).
The nostalgic memory speaks to the audience about a special moment shared by a family. The boy and his father waltz around the room, shaking pans on the kitchen shelf; the boy's mother watches, with a frown, but even so, we don't get the sense that she is truly distressed, but simply doing what a mom would do when carrying on starts.
The situation speaks for itself: a young boy remembers dancing with his father, something many of us remember doing, perhaps with our feet placed on top of our father's shoes, our socks slipping off with each step, and a tight grip on a shirt back or belt to keep from falling. Perhaps it happened too infrequently or the moment passed too quickly. Perhaps we never had the opportunity to do so, but are caught up in the moment as we imagine the experience, especially in light of the descriptions that appeal to our senses.
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