Discoveries motivated by need, wonder or curiosity mayentail a sense of values and places in which an individual may reject or acceptas they come to new perception of the broader society.
However some may remainindifferent. Robert Gray’s poems explores the transformative concept ofdiscovery in ‘Diptych’ where the poet reminisces on anecdotal memories whilstdiscovering his parent’s differences; in juxtaposition to both “Meatworks” and”Flames and Dangling Wire” which centers more towards the poet’s skepticaldiscovery of the devastating effects of consumerism. We see in these poems thatdiscovery can only take place when our curiosity challenges us. In Gray’s poem ‘Diptych’ elements of the persona’s familylife are embedded throughout; from when he was a child to a time after hisfather’s death.
The poem begins in a conversational, colloquial tone as itreflects the life of the family, bounded by their relationship but separated bytheir nature. The persona’s reminiscence of his mother leads to thetransformative discovery of her inner resilience. The persona not onlydiscovers his parent’s differing qualities but a duality of character withinthe mother, who is both calm and distraught. The customary practice of waitinghas become the memory instilled within the persona “one night, as would alwayshappen,” she’d stay awake concerned about him “in this state”. Her euphemismfor her drunk husband demonstrates how distraught and stress she is as shehides the truth from herself and her son. Gray clearly demonstrates the twofaced personality traits of the persona’s mother as she switches as needed inresponse to “what needed to be done”. The bull incident recounted by the persona isprefaced by the poet’s emphasis on how his mother “never ceased…from extendingcare” despite being at times “dammed impossible through a few meal times”.
Suchstatements evokes her ability to remain compassionate and kind while having todeal with the pressures of having a drunken and unreliable husband.