Intro to Poetry
9 April 2013
Love can be defined in various ways. Especially in American culture, where love is used to describe the affection or infatuation of many different things or people. There is no real classification of the type of love for things; it is just plain love. But, usually when the word love comes up, most people associate it with romantic love; love that is shared between couples in a relationship. Yet, still there are many different definitions one has to describe this type of love. In an article called “What is Love,” Sheryl Paul defines love, “Love is action. Love is tolerance… Love is giving. Love is receiving… Love is recognizing that it is not your partner’s job to make you feel alive, fulfilled, or complete.” Sheryl Paul uses verbs to describe love and has her own perception of what love is and should be that people can agree or disagree with. While Paul believes love is tolerance and reciprocation, Sheri and Bob Stritof describe love differently. They say, “love is when the chemicals in your brain kick in and you feel an emotional high, exhilaration, passion and elation when you and your lover are together.” These are two different explanations for love, but still very similar. Poetry is another means for people to share their ideas through. There are many poems throughout the history of literature that have been written about similar topics. Some are very similar others are completely different, even though they share the same purpose. Two poems in particular that I will be analyzing have the same theme, romantic love. Even though they both offer different perspectives on the theme, they go about explaining it in a similar manner. Anna Bradstreet’s “To My Dear and Loving Husband” and Kim Addonizio’s “First Poem for You” share the theme of romantic love, and the authors go about elucidating the theme in similar ways, regardless of their opposing views.
Anne Bradstreet’s poem, “To My Dear and Loving Husband,” contains imagery and paradoxes to develop her theme, as well as a consistent rhyme scheme and amount of syllables in each line. The purpose of her poem is to describe how much she loves and adores her husband. She is not afraid to praise him and show him off. At the time that this poem was written (late seventeenth century), and as a Puritan woman, these thoughts and ideas were not seen before. At the beginning of her work she begins with a paradox, “If ever two were one, then surely we” (To My Dear and Loving Husband). This is a very bold statement to begin with because she is stating that her affection for her husband is so great that, together, they can be one being instead of two separate ones. So being a puritan woman in the seventeenth century, saying that she was equal to a man was very daring. Bradstreet then says that their love and her joy cannot be compared with any other woman. She continues to describe her love for her husband through great imagery and hyperboles. For example, “I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold, / Or all the riches that the East doth hold” (To My Dear and Loving Husband). This supports the immensity of her love for her husband. In the end, Bradstreet makes a full circle by returning to a paradox at the end when she says, “Then while we live, in love let’s so persevere, / That when we live no more, we may live ever.” The paradox is in not living, they will continue to live forever in their love. Another way in which you see her poem circling back to the beginning is in the word ever, which she uses in the first two lines: “If ever two…/If ever man…” (To My Dear and Loving Husband). Another way in which she brings about the theme of romantic love is by using a consistent rhyme scheme and amount of syllables. Bradstreet uses the rhyme scheme; AA BB CC DD… Although two of the rhymes may be considered as slang rhyme, it is still a rhyme. For example, when she makes rhyme “quench” with “recompense” and...