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The whiskey on your breath
Could make a small boy dizzy;
But I hung on like death:
Such waltzing was not easy.

We romped until the pans
Slid from the kitchen shelf;
My mother’s countenance
Could not unfrown itself.


The hand that held my wrist
Was battered on one knuckle;
At every step you missed
My right ear scraped a buckle.

You beat time on my head
With a palm caked hard by dirt,
Then waltzed me off to bed
Still clinging to your shirt.

 

about the poet
Theodore Roethke (1908-1963). Born in Saginaw, Michigan, Roethke was the son of a greenhouse owner; greenhouses figure prominently in the imagery of his poems....(more)

Simile in "My Papa’s Waltz"

Select the highlighted portion of the poem for the simile in "My Papa’s Waltz." Once you have finished reviewing the simile in the poem you can complete the accompanying exercise by selecting the "complete exercise" link below.

>Complete Exercise

>Definition of Simile


"My Papa's Waltz" from COLLECTED POEMS OF THEODORE ROETHKE by Theodore Roethke, copyright. Used by permission of Doubleday, a division of Random House Inc.


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