Huwebes, Marso 24, 2011

stylistic analysis of a poem "to the man I married"

“To the Man I Married”

Angela Manalang Gloria
You are my earth and all that earth implies:
The gravity that ballasts me in space,
The air I breathe, the land that stills my cries
For food and shelter against devouring days.
You are the earth whose orbit marks my way
And sets my north and south, my east and west.
You are the final, elemental clay
The driven heart must turn to for its rest.

If in your arms that hold me now so near
I life my keening thought to another one,
As trees long rooted to the earth uprear
Their quickening leaves and flowers to the sun,
You who are earth, O never doubt that I
Need you no less because I need the sky!

I cannot love you with a love
That outcompares the boundless sea,
For that were false, as no such love
And no such ocean can ever be.

But I can love you with a love
As finite as the wave that dies
And dying holds from crest to crest
The blue of everlasting skies.

Part I:
            Part I of Angela Manalang Gloria’s “To the Man I Marriedis a combination English/Italian sonnet: it consists of an octave with the rime scheme ABABCDCD and in the sestet EFEFGG. The overall rime-scheme is that of the English sonnet, but instead of three quatrains and a couplet, it features the octave and sestet.
            In the octave, the speaker makes the bold claim addressing the man she married: “You are my earth and all that earth implies.” The speaker’s claim alerts the reader to a metaphorical comparison: the addressee is her earth. The speaker’s final point of comparison is both startling yet quite logical: her husband is like the earth, in that he is “the final, elemental clay / The driven heart must turn to for its rest.”
            As most octaves in Italian sonnets do, this octave has offered a thought that will receive a twist in the sestet. While the octave implies a very close and sustaining relationship between the speaker and her husband, the sestet asserts that that closeness does not completely satisfy all of the needs of the speaker as an individual: “If in your arms that hold me now so near / I lift my keening thoughts to another one.”
Part II:
            Part II of “To the Man I Married” consists of two quatrains with the rime scheme ABAB, ACDC, in which the speaker asserts that she does not want to overstate her case about her love for her husband, and she even backtracks somewhat. Although he is metaphorically her earth, she really cannot compare her love for him to the ocean, because “no such love / And no such ocean can ever be.” But she can love him in a finite way, like the waves that keep crashing against the shore; after all, those waves do reflect “The blue of everlasting skies.”

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