Advice To My Son Meineke Analysis Essay

In this poem, a parent--either a mother or father--provides guidance to a son about how to live life. In the first stanza, the parent suggests that the son must "live your days / as if each one may be your last" (lines 1-2). The son must realize that life can be fleeting and, unfortunately, can end at any time. However, at the same time, the son must "plan long range" (line 5). If the son...

In this poem, a parent--either a mother or father--provides guidance to a son about how to live life. In the first stanza, the parent suggests that the son must "live your days / as if each one may be your last" (lines 1-2). The son must realize that life can be fleeting and, unfortunately, can end at any time. However, at the same time, the son must "plan long range" (line 5). If the son survives, he must plan ahead so that his days resemble heaven more than hell.

The parent's advice in the second stanza follows along the same lines, as it involves suggestions that the son balance the practical with the beautiful. For example, the son must plant not only peonies and roses, which are for beauty alone, but also practical foods such as tomatoes, squash, spinach, and others. This idea is metaphorical. The parent means that the son must cultivate activities that are for beauty at the same time that he attends to practical matters in life. Similarly, the son should marry a beautiful wife but, in a practical vein, investigate the wife's mother before he marries to see that she has aged well and is a good person. The son can be soulmates with one person but just work practically alongside another. In the last two lines, the parent suggests that the son always have bread--the practical part of life--along with wine--the beautiful part of life. 

Image from anniebee

Advice to my Son

by J. Peter Meinke

The trick is, to live your days
as if each one may be your last
(for they go fast, and young men lose their lives
in strange and unimaginable ways)
but at the same time, plan long range
(for they go slow; if you survive
the shattered windshield and the bursting shell
you will arrive
at our approximation here below
of heaven or hell).

To be specific, between the peony and the rose
plant squash and spinach, turnips and tomatoes;
beauty is nectar
and nectar, in the desert, saves –
but the stomach craves stronger sustenance
than the honied vine.
Therefore, marry a pretty girl
after seeing her mother;
show your soul to one man,
work with another;
and always serve bread with your wine.
But, son,
Always serve wine.

(Hat tip to Andy Luscombe for this Manvotional selection)

Last updated: November 16, 2017

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