When love is great, when love is profound, it becomes more difficult to control. And in the hands of people who are unable to control it, love overwhelms the person. This is the destructive nature of love which is why the award-winning poet Edith Tiempo, in her poem Bonsai, scaled down love into a “cupped hand size.” The poem is an example of a work that is objective-correlative wherein the ideas depicted are abstract. In this work of literature, love is the abstract idea. In the first stanza, Bonsai describes everything one loves as something that could be folded into the smallest size so that one could “keep in a box/ or a slit in a hollow post/ or in my shoe.” The idea is to turn one large concept such as love into something that “folds and keeps easy” so that one’s memory will not be cluttered. Memory stays with a person forever but it is often unreliable which is why there is a need to simplify love if it has become overwhelming so that it is easy to handle and quick to retrieve the memories from the labyrinths of the mind. Then there came the question in the next line that said, “All that I love?” The interrogative statement was posed for self-examination which was, in the next stanza, assured with the lines “Why, yes but for the moment-/ And for all time, both.” The two lines are an oxymoron for love can be both temporal and eternal. It was like saying often one remembers a lover but there are times when he does not. Tiempo even made love familiar and within reach by reducing it to things that people use and hold dear such as “Son’s note, or Dad’s gaudy tie, / A roto picture of a young queen/ A blue Indian shawl, even/ A money bill.” By using these objects in the poem, Tiempo portrayed the sublimation of love as something that is abstract like gas penetrating the vast space surrounding two people into something that is concrete like a solid object that one can hold unto and control. The next stanza tells about how when love is sublimated, it is...
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