Monday, October 10, 2005

The Ache of Marriage

The Ache of Marriage
-Denise Levertov

The ache of marriage;

thigh and tongue, beloved,
are heavy with it,
it throbs in the teeth

We look for communion
and are turned away, beloved,
each and each

It is leviathan and we
in its belly
looking for joy, some joy
not to be known outside of it

two by two in the ark of
the ache of it.

Okay, when I first read this poem I had no idea what it was trying to say. But the more and more I learn about love, the more this poem speaks to me. Love, the foundation of marriage (hopefully), it painful and in most cases indescribable. As much joy as it brings, it can't help but hurt a lot, too (throbs in the teeth - figuratively speaking). Communion and the ark both elude to Biblical allusions, each of which are/were sacred happenings of that time. The thing that I enjoyed the most about learning about the poem was just by reading the last stanza "two by two in the ark of the ache of it." Like in the institution of marriage, when a male and female of each animal was brought into the ark, so are man and wife when they are wed. They are committed and expected to make it work (find love and joy) because they are both committed to their marriage even though it brings about all sorts of ache. I think that it's a poem that's meant to be encouraging and uplifting, not necessarily degrading to the idea of marriage.


Blogger Niel said...

I liked the poem because of the way it flowed. I also liked the post, because it showed me a different way to interpret the poem that I had not thought of before. I did not think about the Biblical allusions, and it was interesting to reread them. The poem is simplistic, but it has much a deeper meaning about love and the way that marriage and relationships work.

8:19 PM  
Blogger Lilan said...

I really like your interpretation of the poem. When I first read it, it really didn't jump out at me either, but after reading your post it made more sense. I think you did a good job, as Sarah said in class one day, of living in the poem- not trying to figure it out but walking around in it and exploring the space.

7:15 AM  

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