ENG 2003: Introduction to Poetry

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    The subject of the poem is love, with the theme addressing sex as a physical interaction that is empty without emotion and love. The author carries out this theme through her careful use of word choice and through the tone of the poem. From this the readers get a sense what sex is like when not accompanied by love. In the first 20 lines words like afraid, Love? suggests a frightening uncertainty to the sexual encounter taking place the previous day. The author compares the encounter to dragonflies in the sun and 100 degrees at noon. We can all agree that these choice of words elicit thoughts of heat…. something hot, steamy…maybe even discomfort. The poem goes on to state (lines 12)

    “Did i know u? No Kiss, no tenderness – more like killing, death-grip holding to life, genitals like violent hands clasped tight barely moving, more like being closed i a great jaw and eaten, and the screaming”

    The authors graphic word choice suggests rough/harsh perhaps a deathlike tone. It is marked by pain, intensity, without affection. However, after this point there is change in the author’s choice of words and tone. There became a since of security (lines 26) “you secured me in your arms till I slept-“. Furthermore the uncertainty changed to certainty. LOVE? (line 2) changed to THAT WAS LOVE (LINE 27)….and the words fragrant, buoyant provides that sense of sweetness and happiness that is accompanied with love. It was only being held after sex … the feeling of being loved did the speaker become content. Consequently, my interpretation of the poem is that sex when only lustful is intense yet lack the joy and fulfillment that most people desire. Well maybe most women. (Maybe the reason why this poem is written by a female) As most men may prefer just sex, many women favor the intimacy and love that accompanies the sex!



    I agree with the view shared by Imanley about this poem. The poem,in my opinion, was introduced with a cold and harsh tone. As Imanley points out, the poet’s choice of words gave a hint that her sexual encounter was not accompanied by love.

    Her choice of words, “Did I know you?” seems to to convey that the poet’s sexual encounter was with a stranger but I beg to differ. I believe that she was not used to sex with this level of intensity and with such a graphic nature. “No kiss, no tenderness.” This shows that she had been used to a more intimate kind of sex. She seemed to be a “proper” lady who felt ashamed of her own actions in participating in this kind of graphic sex. So embarrassed that she refuses to remember, “the way a drunkard forgets.” I believe that the word “die” used in this poem was used not in the context of physical death but in the same way that Shakespeare had used it in the poem “Much Ado About Nothing”, to refer to having a sexual orgasm.

    The tone of the poem becomes lighter after the sexual encounter when the poet experiences the kind of intimacy that she was accustomed sharing with her lover. “That was love.”

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