“My Father is a Simple Man” by Luis Omar Salinas is a simple poem which begins with a father and son walking and talking, and then expresses a deeper meaning – about life and greatness.
The essence of life is perpetual. The essence of greatness is true kindness and patience.
- Metaphor, simile
Can life really be compared to an orange?
Does education make someone a “scholar”?
What is greatness?
How old do you think the speaker is? Justify your response with reference to details in the poem.
For what audience do you think the poem is intended?
Do you think the poet ever expressed these thoughts and feelings to his father? Explain.
“My Father Is a Simple Man” by Luis Omar Salinas
I walk to town with my father
to buy a newspaper. He walks slower
than I do so I must slow up.
The street is filled with children.
We argue about the price of pomegranates. I convince
him it is the fruit of scholars .
He has taken me on this journey
and it’s been lifelong.
He’s sure I’ll be healthy
so long as I eat more oranges,
and tells me the orange
has seeds and so is perpetual ;
and we too will come back
like the orange trees.
I ask him what he thinks
about death and he says
he will gladly face it when
it comes but won’t jump
out in front of a car.
I’d gladly give my life
for this man with a sixth
grade education, whose kindness
and patience are true…
The truth of it is, he’s the scholar,
and when the bitter-hard reality
comes at me like a punishing
evil stranger, I can always
remember that here was a man
who was a worker and provider,
who learned the simple facts
in life and lived by them,
who held no pretense.
And when he leaves without
benefit of fanfare or applause
I shall have learned what little
there is about greatness.