Diptych #

A diptych is both a two hinged, two leaved writing tablet and a painting of portrait with opposing pictures. It suits the title for this poem well as the poem writes in two different ways about his mother and his father as opposing portraits.

This a candid, intimate and open portrayal of the poet’s family. * *Our ancestors are always with us; their enduring if elusive presence are inscribed in our DNA, our physical features, and in our mindsets. Atavistic attributes can be traced through generations of your family.
Even our most irrational behaviors can be blamed on our antecedents.

Parenthood is one of the most challenging roles played in life and yet many people are ill prepared for it. Originally it was assumed a natural instinctive role, however in today’s highly competitive goal oriented world, many parents are tempted to adopt a more vigorous interventionist model.

Parents can have the most fundamental and profound overall influence on us even though from about 13 onwards we outwardly resist and attempt to reject their advice. Through nature and nurture, especially during the ages 0 – 5 their indelible influence is through osmosis or subliminal inspiration. They influence our general outlook in life and construct our values and conscience – our sense of right and wrong.


Unlyrical, flat, conversational style of a series of anecdotes that reveal features of the characters of the mother and the father using a variety of distinctive voices


A self-searching portrait of his parents through anecdotes that reveal traits that are evident in his own “pathetic” nature. The poet searches his family heritage to discover himself, “Cut off your family and how would you know who you are?” David Sedaris

III. THEMES: Diptych #

The obsessiveness of individuals with caring for appearance and respectability rather than substance and morality.

One’s destiny is inextricably tied to one’s ancestry. “Blood mixed” Nurture and. caring is necessary for the survival of the fragile and vulnerable and provides mother with self-approval/identity



Mother Father

unpretentious - cares for appearances

extends Care to others -self-oriented soulless

warm hearted - social isolate drinks alon melancholic, alcoholic

casual, hysterical - restrained. “gentlemanly”

steady, reliable - impeccable manners a front


Mother’s care steady, unstoppable as tidal waves while seedlings “flimsy leaves” small as mouse prints.


Long lines, - complex; short lines for emphasis.

Poem too verbose, no compression of thought.

V, LANGUAGE Diptych #

Conversational and anecdotal

Poet as child: immature and confused

Poet’s language: clear, organised, literate

Mother’s narrative: colloquial, clichéd, digressions

Father’s narrative: educated, pompous, bigoted.

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Leo Tolstoy

Happiness is having a large loving close knit family living in another city/country”.

“With family, you do not have to judge each other, you