Study Guide

good times Sound Check

By Lucille Clifton

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Sound Check

Don't you just love it when you can actually say a poem sounds like a good time?

No need to worry about proper grammar, fancy words, or fancy speakers in "good times" because the entire thing sounds like a lighthearted romp in the kitchen. That's not to say the speaker isn't used to harder times. In fact, when we notice that money isn't always around for the speaker's family, we realize that she's not taking any of these good times for granted. What we hear then is a lighthearted poem that sounds like the speaker had previously come from anything but good times.

Once we actually get to the fun part, the poem sounds like the kind of spirit we usually connect with life's happier and lighter moments—especially once we've learned to appreciate those times. Plus, with the speaker's informal and fun-loving voice, we don't need to search too hard for any deep meanings. Instead, the poem sounds exactly the way it's supposed to with conversational diction (lots of "ands") and familiar idioms (like "good times") that virtually anyone can identify with.

The speaker even avoids all of the figurative language that poets usually use to describe a good time and just opts for a little repetition instead by using the refrain, "good times." So the poem sounds just as simple as its themes, which encourage us to focus on those simple pleasures that don't need fancy explanations or words.

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