The poem "My Papa's Waltz," by Theodore Roethke describes the scene of dance between a father and his son. This poem deals with affectionate memories of the narrator and his father. The narrator describes a celebration of the father and with his child by dancing across the kitchen floor, where the child had a blast dancing with his father. Robert Hayden poem, "Those Winter Sundays" uses adult narrator to describe the memory of the child towards his distant father. The father used to wake up early every Sunday to be ready for church services. In this poem, the father is not friendly and affectionate, but he made sure that everything stays in order for his child. The two poems deal with a child's feelings about a parent. Even though the poems appear to be similar, they differ in tone and image. .
The tone of "My Papa's Waltz" differs from the tone in "Those Winter Sundays".
In the first poem the narrator uses a tone of enjoyment and excitement. The narrator describes how the child gets excited while he is dancing with his father. The narrator explains: .
The whiskey on your breath.
Could make a small boy dizzy;.
But I hung on like death:.
Such waltzing was not easy. (I - 4).
This tone shows that the father and son spent a memorable moment with one another.
On the other hand, the second poem, first stanza, has a tone of admiration. The narrator uses this tone to shows the son's respect for his dead father. The narrator describes the father's hardship in life by working in a hard labor work to fulfill his family's needs. The narrator mentions this by referring to the father's wrinkled hand. In lines: "then with cracked hand that ached/ from labor in the weekday weather made/ banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him." (II - 5) This way the narrator points out the child's appreciation for his father. The last stanza of the second poem has a tone of regret. The narrator regrets his inability of appreciating his father for the Sunday ritual and he feels sorry for taking grant on his father labor work.