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My Father's Martial Art by Stephen Shu Ning Liu

            "My Father's Martial Art" by author Stephen Shu Ning Liu is an inspirational poem with a well thought out meaning that refers back to a simpler time by bringing a comparison between older times and modern times. Stephen Shu Ning Liu was born in 1930 in Fuling, China, near the Yangtze River. Growing up around the tradition of Chinese poetry and painting, his father and grandfather conveyed many art forms to Shu as a child in the hopes of one day following in their footsteps. The speaker of this poem is a young boy perhaps in his teen years who talks about the return of his father whom has been away living in a monastery practicing the ancient Buddhist philosophy that monks use and to this day still practice in search of finding inner peace and tranquility. The messages that the speaker sends and the underlying struggles that he faces. The speaker does not directly speak to any person but seems to be reminiscing on seeing his father and the knowledge and learning's his father brings back from his time at the monastery. .
             The speaker's tone throughout this poem seems very admiring; speaking of his father as a role model. The beginning of this poem describes the speaker's first impression of seeing his father after three winters. Describing his father's seemingly primitive lifestyle while away at the monastery. The speaker uses plenty of imagery throughout the poem. In the second stanza, the father speaks about his master from the monastery describing his master's skillful ways. In this quote, "My master both light and heavy. He skipped over treetops like squirrel." The speaker uses both imagery and simile to describe the father's master being nimble and agile comparing him to that of a squirrel. Another quote from the poem says "looked like a monk and stank of green fungus" makes a comparison to monks at the monastery and refers to the hygiene of being out in nature.

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