“A Chinese Bowl” Poetry Response #5 Jessie Weber 2nd Pd.
"A Chinese Bowl," by Katha Pollitt, is a nostalgic poem about a memory from the poet's childhood. You can tell that what sparks this reminiscence is coming across the Chinese bowl that used to sit on the desk of the narrator's father. She then describes a scene from her childhood in which the bowl sits on the desk, and her father at it. She describes her father's typewriter and a play that she is writing, sitting on the floor in her father's office as he works. She describes the room with detail, to make the reader feel like he or she has also been in this room before.
Then suddenly, the author switches from simply describing a scene, to thinking about tragedies from her past. Lines 21-26 represent why I say that Pollitt switches from describing a scene to thinking about tragedies in her past. By this, she seems to be illustrating how she felt that her father's office was a safe place, away from all the worries she and her father had. She then seems to say that she misses this feeling of peace. It's as if she wishes that she still had that safe place to go when her worries get to her; that she hadn't taken that small detail of her childhood for granted while she had it.
I can relate to her a little in this. I think everyone has a memory from childhood of being with their parents in a certain setting and feeling like nothing could ever harm them. I know for me personally, as I've started to grow up, I've at times felt like I was too on my own for my own comfort, and wanted to feel like I had no worries, and like my parents would always be there to solve my problems. It's just a part of growing up, and Katha Pollitt greatly illustrates this in "A Chinese Bowl.”