Study Guide

good times Stanza 2

By Lucille Clifton

Stanza 2

Lines 9-11

my mama has made bread
and grampaw has come
and everybody is drunk

  • By the second stanza, we're on to mama and the bread she just made. The first stanza was about dad and uncle brud, this one is about mom and the rest of the family.
  • Line 10 tells us that grampaw is here too, so it looks like the setting is more complete with the whole family in the house. 
  • And what's going on? Very simple stuff—everyone is having a good time and is drunk. We're assuming the speaker isn't talking about reckless drinking here, just some typical family partying. Nothing too harmful, we'd guess.
  • When you think about it, being able to afford liquor is also something the speaker doesn't really take for granted (even though we can assume she's not partaking in the indulgence as a kid). Booze costs money and when there's not a lot of that to go around, folks tend to appreciate it more when it is around. 
  • The bread in line 9 gives the stanza a more wholesome feel, since bread is usually associated with old-fashioned home cooking and such. Between the bread and everyone being drunk, the poem's mood feels warm and informal. We're cozy. We're happy.

Lines 12-14

and dancing in the kitchen
and singing in the kitchen
of these is good times

  • By now we know that everyone is having a good time dancing and singing in the kitchen. All of it together makes for "these […] good times."
  • Check out the anaphora. The speaker is repeating the same sentence structure in lines 12-13. Aside from the verbs "dancing" and "singing" the lines could be interchangeable. But hey, so is dancing and singing in general. Both are ways to have a good time, it doesn't matter which one you're doing. Heck, they often go together.
  • The speaker repeats the word "and" here to make the poem sound all the more casual and informal, maybe even to make her voice sound more like a child's. Kids like to use the word "and" a whole lot when they're telling a story and they also tend to repeat simple sentence structures like these. 
  • Devices like anaphora adds to the poem's informal, jive-like mood. It's like it could almost be a song or a simple story, which is what these good times are all about. Check out "Sound Check" for more.

Lines 15-16

good times
good times

  • Do we have that refrain memorized yet? Bet we do. Just in case, these are all good times and we're supposed to remember that. 
  • "good times" is also a kind of phrase that people say all over the world (the English speaking world, of course). Go to Canada, the UK, the US, and you're bound to hear it. Using such a familiar phrase as a refrain makes the poem sound all the more casual and informal, as it should be. We can all relate to good times, even if our good times look a bit different than our speaker's.

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