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Poetic Imagery: Mi Abuelo by Alberto Rios

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  • Pages: 4
  • Word count: 906
  • Category: Family

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Out of the three poems, the first two hardly had but one or two symbols throughout. They were so short, that they hardly had enough time to get but a small message across to the reader, or atleast that’s how I saw it. However, Alberto Rios’s “Mi Abuelo” had many images which made my brain tingle with excitement for writing this paper. Besides the fact that it had the most imagery, it also was the most interesting and best imagery in my opinion.

The poem starts out with Rios indirectly pointing out that his abuelo, or grandfather, is already passed away and buried. Even though his grandpa has passed on, he still is connected to the modern world “like an Indian with his ear at the tracks.” Now, I’ve never heard of an Indian with his ear to tracks which I assume are train tracks. However, Indians did press their ear to the ground to hear if animals were near because the sound of feet does travel well through ground, but travels even better through a more solid substance like a steel train track. So, I can imagine that an Indian could pretty much hear anything and everything through that steel train track, just as his grandfather could hear everything from his grave. Now this metaphorical steel track helps his grandfather whisper the future into listeners’ ears. Even after his death, “he whispers what will happen to a man in town or how he will meet the best dressed woman tomorrow and how the best man at her wedding will chew the ground next to her.” The grandfather lives on within his former household.

His presence is still there “through all the mouths in my house.” His sayings and knowledge still hovers around the family’s house. The words of wisdom which he spread to the youngsters still ring in their ears from memories and restate the advice to one another. The advice doesn’t go without a bit of humor, though. Rios states, “An echo of me hitting the pipe sometimes to stop him from saying my hair is a sieve.” A sieve, being a metal strainer like one you would use for spaghetti, is just a remark that his grandpa used to make fun of his hair. I’m guessing sieve hair is probably flat and boring, or it’s stiff like metal wires. Rios would have to shut his own grandfather up by hitting the ‘pipe’, or else he could go on repeating it for hours upon hours.

People usually live on through others’ dreams, and I’m sure this man’s grandpa is no exception. His presence still exists, and it can carry on conversations with the family. His grandfather tells stories about himself to Rios through the ‘pipe’. There were stories about him being a great and honest man. Stories more like fantasy, about him being deaf and receiving the cure through the mail. Rios claims, “At best, mi abuelo is a liar.” Everyone’s a liar when they tell stories about themselves because they want to make themselves sound good. Either that or the original story would be too boring to keep the audiences’ attention. I noticed too, he uses the word ‘is’ in present rather then its past tense form. His grandfather’s stories were along the lings of “he heard ground hogs talking,” or “sometimes he will talk about his wife.” Rios could be dreaming about these conversations at night, or day dreaming while bored from past experience. Even better, his grandfather’s ghost may haunt the house which his family lives, but not likely.

When Rios goes to his grandmother’s house, he sees an old picture of his grandpa with his “off-white yellow center mustache.” Yellow is used as a symbol of happiness or joy through literature and poetry in our culture. Also, Rios refers to his grandmother as “nani” which is a word for grandmother from the Greek language. This probably meant he was of Spanish (abuelo) and Greek (nani) decent. He finishes off his poem with the strongest imagery, “he talks best about these hill, slowest waves, and where this man is going.” I assume by hills and waves he either means time or the hills the city may lie on. Whichever it is, his grandfather is giving him advice for the future to come, and he feels that he will make it far with his grandfather’s advice. The grandson obviously has a profound respect for his grandfather throughout the poem, but at the end, describes his grandfather lying in his casket wearing his best suit. I would want to be buried in my best suit when I died too. No ones ever going to see me again, but it’s always good to look your best when you’re a classy person.

“Mi Abuelo” is a very strong imagery poem. It’s a poem about a grandson’s relationship to his grandfather. It’s a poem about his grandfather’s advice and memory still living throughout town. It’s a poem about the grandson paying his respect to his grandfather. I am usually pretty good at understanding deep meanings to a phrase, but Rios is a very, very deep writer. I had a very hard time evaluating this poem, and tried to use the internet as a reference to a few of the sayings like “chew the ground next to her feet.” The only pages I came up with were the poem word for word.

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