Hall is first telling the reader that the father is with his child. The child seems to be very young because the father takes the child in his arms. “I take you in my arms/quiet and small and just astir. ” This shows that the father cares a lot about his child. The father could be taking out time from his day to share this moment with his child. The son, who is in his arms or lying on his lap, shares the father’s warmth. “And whom my body warms. ” The father expresses how he has to give up himself in order for the son to be happy and healthy. “Your cries and hungers document/out bodily decay. Hall is saying when the child is hungry then he must get fed. As time goes on, the father gets older and the roles of father and son are reversed. The dedication has to be there for the parents to raise a happy and healthy child. The tone of this poem is a combination of happiness and darkness. The poem can be seen to have a happy tone that Halls shows well. He writes about the father acknowledging his child as his own. “My son. ” Hall portrays happy images like a father wrapping his arms around his young child. “I take you in my arms. ” The father also makes it known that his presence will live forever in his child.
This means the father will always be with the child spiritually. On the other hand, this poem can be taken in a direful tone. Right from the title, Hall throws a dreary feeling toward the reader. “My son, my executioner. ” There are words that Hall uses in his poem that show a darker side. “And start to die together. ” The reader could interpret these lines as some sort of sick meaning. This poem could either be taken in a happy tone or a dark tone. The main theme Hall is trying to express is that once a person has a child, their lives are changed forever.
In the first line, “My son, my executioner,” is saying that once a child comes into the world, in a sense the parent’s life is taken away. Yet as morbid as that sounds, the parent’s life is made eternal through their child forever. The father knows his time is now focused on his son. There is a reversal of roles, as the child gets bigger and stronger, the father gets weaker and will die. “Sweet death, small son, our instrument/of immortality. ” Another problem was that the parents had their child young. That day the child was born, their lives were changed and it will never be the same again. We twenty-five and twenty-two. ” In conclusion, Donald Hall portrays a father who has grown old, holding their young child in their arms. . The way Hall used imagery, showed the reader a fatherly figure that gives up everything to care for his son. The tone of the poem was important because it let the reader know that the poem could be seen as happy or dark. The theme showed the readers that once they have a child, their lives are changed forever. “My Son, My Executioner” is a very well written poem with a deep, true meaning that readers, along with parents, could relate to.