Monday, November 17, 2014

the Sunnyside Road

I didn't originally want to analyze this poem. I was easily disinterested by its first remarks to alcohol. But, the more I read, the more I found this piece to be completely beautiful and different than what I expected. And maybe almost too relatable to my life.

in your bed, your head clogged
with phlegm, you having gotten
drunk three nights out of seven
every week while I was gone
so you wouldn’t have to feel
 the trashed-out beauty of this
 place we walked in early June
as I now retrace those steps
 that led us to Sri Rathiga...

 Fire in the Pasture (p. 263)

Timothy Liu takes us through the journey of a love memory he had with his partner. There is heavy imagery of the scenery "six stone lions standing guard / over bushes heavy with summer / roses the size of newborn heads / ". The language and description helps personify all of these normal objects we see. We all have a connection with this description--we have seen in movies or read in books. There is definitely objective indicators that help us identify the setting, as she names the city, "Sri Rathiga," or the "where Krishna’s and his wife’s ecstatic dance inlaid in wood hung above our table filling up with those soft green peppers not to be found anywhere else in Ilford..."

This poem has an LDS theme of relationships, love, and unity. The memory takes place beginning in a garden area--and alludes to the blossomed roses, this is a symbol for love flourishing, and a relationship developed. Later, he says, "from the day I put its golden weight on thirteen years ago (my partner saying, you’ll have to take it off yourself—I’ll never remove it)." In the LDS culture, we have a strong belief and foundation upon the importance of marriage, love, and unity in a companionship. Doctrinally, it is the greatest and highest covenant we can make on this earth with God, and here this marriage is portrayed as now separate and distant, no longer united. He chooses to only use the pronouns of "I" or "me," and never "we." He refers to his wife as "Beloved," which can also be a religious connotation --as something of great worth, and have spiritual connection with them. This applied to me, because even though I have never been in this situation before, I feel, we have all had failures and successes in relationships that help us zoom out and see it from a different perspective later on in life --as Liu has. We may all have to walk down the sunnyside road of a memory--but we usually do so as different and better people.

446 words
"Sunnyside Road," Timothy Liu, Fire in the Pasture, 263-264


  1. The way he uses the phrase "from the day I put its golden weight on thirteen years ago (my partner saying, you'll have to take if of yourself--I'll never remove it)," to exemplify that importance of fidelity in marriage is fantastic. Funny how his literary use of "golden weight" automatically paints a picture of his wedding ring in our minds.

  2. What a great analysis! I liked the way you highlight the LDS culture and the importance we put in marriage. Marriage is far more than a contract between individuals to ratify their affections and provide for mutual obligations. Rather, marriage is a vital institution for rearing children and teaching them to love one another, which fortifies the family unity.