THE ONGOING CONFLICT BETWEEN FATHER AND SON
An insight into the poem FATHER TO SON by Elizabeth Jennings
The poem revolves around a conflict between father and son who are in a serious communication gap. Though they live in the same house/globe, they are like strangers to each other. The father broods over this and this forms the centre of the poem. He introspects with an agrarian imagery where he feels he has sown his seed in a stranger’s land that forbids him from owning it. He admits that he cannot share what his son loves and expects him to come back home like the Prodigal/lost son in the parable of Jesus in the Bible. He is ready to forgive him and develop a new love from sorrow. But his son feels anger growing out of sorrow and admits the vain efforts of both in understanding each other.
This poem doesn’t merely depict a domestic conflict but touches upon the Creator-creation conflict/god-man conflict which gives an entirely novel dimension to the poem. Remember the Frankenstein story.
Had the poem been written from the point of view of the son, it would have brought in new scopes for discussion and debate.
“Your children are not your children…” from the Prophet can be recounted in this context.