Last Night vs the Embrace

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Aubrie Smith
English 1102
May 31, 2012
“Last Night” VS “The Embrace”
Love is defined in the dictionary in many ways; just as in life, love does not hold one indefinite meaning, but an exclusive meaning to each individual. Poets throughout history have written countless poems on the topic of love. In some aspects these poems are very similar to one another but at the same time unique in their own manner. Sharon Old’s “Last Night” describes the love she encounters only for a brief moment after having sex for the first time. Whereas Mark Doty’s “The Embrace” pronounces the love he feels for his lover, when seeing him in a dream. These love poems seem to take a different path from the orthodox love poems one is used to seeing, and instead they express a side of love that is not often talked about. Both of these works represent a strong sense of symbolism that only expands the meaning that each poet is voicing.

Although in most ordinary love poems, the poet seems to be expressing his deep and impenetrable love for a women, or vice versa. In Sharon Old’s “Last Night” it seems to be the complete opposite. She is not sure if it’s even love at first, she writes “Love? It was more like dragonflies in the sun, 100 degrees at noon,” (2-3) She portrays the act of sex as very animalistic and loveless. “No tenderness-more like killing, death-grip” (13) she goes on to say that she hardly knew herself (5-6) which is symbolic of the guilt someone often feels after losing their virginity or maybe partaking in a one night stand. Old’s describes the side of love that is rarely talked about, the sexual side full of selfishness and lust. She does not even mention feeling loved except for a brief moment after the act of sex has already been committed. “You secured me in your arms till I slept that was love,” (26-27) Although Sharon Old’s poem is not a traditional love poem; it talks about a side of love that is important for society to hear more about. Love is not all candy and...
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