Under The Lemon Tree By Lucille Clifton Analysis

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“Under The Lemon Tree”, by Marsha De Lao, and “Forgiving My Father”, by Lucille Clifton are two extremely melancholy poems that speak of the despondency of two daughters. “Under the Lemon Tree” features a daughter in a great deal of pain over the loss of her mother 6 years earlier. The daughter suggest that her mother had left this world too soon, with a lot more life ahead of her. “Forgiving My Father” by Lucille Clifton demonstrates a slightly different viewpoint of a similar situation. This poem speaks of how the shortcomings of a father resulted in the pain and misery of a mother as well as the daughter, eventually leading to the emotional death of the mother. Sorrow and unfulfilled dreams are the themes expressed, as each girl searches …show more content…
“Under the Lemon Tree” begins by using a metaphor with a visual of misty rain and dew, used by the author to explain to the reader the daughter's tears of sadness and woe. Her despondency is provoked by the untimely death of her mother. Line 6-11 communicates this saying, "She often walked out here, craned her neck, / considered the fruit, hundreds of globes / in their leathery hides, figuring on / custards and pudding, meringue and / hollandaise. / But her plans didn't work out." Anticipated years having been cut short by an untimely death, reveal to the reader the daughter's inconsolable state. With lines 12-13 she writes, "The tree goes on unceasingly-lemons fall / and fold into earth and begin again-" which reveals the sadness of the daughter as she sees the world around her go on as if her mother never existed. She continues this thread of thought by saying in lines 14-15, "I come here as a salve against heat, / come to languish." I believe this shows that although she continues to visit the tree her mother loved in hopes of finding healing, she instead languishes in despair. The author finishes this poem with the daughter never finding peace as she describes the leaves of the lemon tree, "Leaves swallow the body / of light and the breath of water brims over"(19-20), again using water to promote an overwhelming sense of …show more content…
The author begins the poem with the daughter demanding payment for a life of want. Line 1 begins, "It is Friday, we have come / to the paying of the bills." The daughter is admonishing her father, and ordering him to pay up! She then replies, "all week you have stood in my dreams / like a ghost, asking for more time / but today is payday, payday old man; / my mother's hand opens in her early grave / and i hold it out like a good daughter"(3-7). This passage not only commands the father to hear her, but also laments what I believe is the untimely spiritual and emotional death of a mother who no longer has the strength to speak for herself. She is a woman who gave up long ago on a man that had nothing to give to her. The author reveals her father's inabilities when she writes in lines 10 and 11, "i wish you were rich so I could take it all / and give the lady what she was due," and lines 12-15 saying, "but you were the son of a needy father, / the father of a needy son; / you gave her all you had / which was nothing". Although the daughter is demanding payment for overdue emotional debts, she is also bemoaning the fact that her father has nothing to give. Additionally, she is saddened by the fact that he continues the cycle of his father before him, and is also showing the same behavior for his son to follow. We see some

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