(20 September 1928 - / Hamden / Connecticut)

White Apples

when my father had been dead a week
I woke
with his voice in my ear
                         I sat up in bed

and held my breath
and stared at the pale closed door

white apples and the taste of stone

if he called again
I would put on my coat and galoshes

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Other poems of HALL (21)

Comments (3)

I don't know what was in Hall's mind but in my mind it is a poem about contemplating a father's life, perhaps following in his footsteps, or doing his memory justice by living a decent life. Normally I don't like Hall, but this one touched me. Yes, I miss my dad. Hall misses his too. -LP
Jeff, I cannot know what Donald Hall wanted us to think but here is what I thought as I read the poem. The first time the persona heard his father's voice, he talked himself into the reality that his dead father could not be at the door. The next time he would hear his father call he plans to irrationally on his rain gear and go out to meet him in defiance of his rational self. 'Death shall have no dominion.'
I wonder if the pale closed door represents the finality of death. I am confused about the coat and galoshes...was it simply raining outside and he thought of going to the graveyard. Is the graveyard the place to taste stone and white apples. I enjoy clarity in poetry, why write something to share when the meaning is only known to the author. Perhaps that is my weakness. I divulge to much but I like to know and not wonder. It makes a poem more applicable in life.