Sunday, October 23, 2005

Eros by Louise Gluck

I had drawn my chair to the hotel window, to watch the rain.

I was in a kind of dream or trance-
in love, and yet
I wanted nothing.

It seemed unnecessary to touch you, to see you again.
I wanted only this:
the room, the chair, the sound of the rain falling,
hour after hour, in the warmth of the spring night.

I needed nothing more; I was utterly sated.
My heart had become small; it took very little to fill it.
I watched the rain falling in heavy sheets over the darkened city-

You were not concerned; I could let you
live as you needed to live.

At dawn the rain abated. I did the things
one does in daylight, I acquitted myself,
but I moved like a sleepwalker.

It was enough and it no longer involved you.
A few days in a strange city.
A conversation, the touch of a hand.
And afterward, I took off my wedding ring.

That was what I wanted: to be naked.

I chose this poem because it was very sweet and simple in message without revealing too much of the story behind the words. I'm inferring that the speaker has been through the ending of a meaningful relationship and this is her first time coming to acceptance and embracing a life outside of a couple. The poet does a good job I feel of setting the tone of the poem; I feel very content while reading this poem, and I get a sense that the speaker is empowering herself as she writes this. Even though in the poem she describes how she wants nothing and feels content, it is apparent that she is working/has worked very hard to achieve this state. She consistently mentions the person she is separating herself from, which makes me believe that she is not quite over the old relationship and her embracing her aloneness is a big step for her. Somehow, the way she uses the weather is very effective and not cliche. It's weird because it is a cliche thing to have the rain be pouring down when one is going through troubles and have the sun come out when you feel whole again, but she works it in so it sounds natural and goes along with the feeling of the poem. I think this may be because even though she is going through a hard time and then coming out of her rut, (following the pattern of the weather in her poem), she mixes in positive feelings with the rain and neutral feelings (sleepwalker) with the sun. I feel like she is discovering herself in the duration of the poem and finds the conclusion at the end that yes, she is enjoying being by herself and the room she is in, but ultimately, she is enjoying being freed and not having to shield herself ("to be naked").

I guess I should talk about the title as well. Eros, when I looked it up is in Greek Mythology as a playful guy running around able to make humans fall in love- also as the connection between "love" and "war." It is interesting that the poet should choose this as a title for her poem, considering it seems that the poem talks about falling out of love. Or maybe it is that she feels in love with life itself, and in that way, feels that she has been a target of Eros. I'm not sure.

3 Comments:

Blogger Sevanna Isanians said...

The title of the poem refers to "cupid" or Eros. I think the raw context of the poem is the poets way of expressing true emotions and loneliness. The weather, as you already pointed out, creates a serious and somber tone. The end of the poem is my personal favorite, where she strips herself of her past, symbolic with the ring.

1:16 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:52 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

The weather creating the tone is called a "pathetic fallacy" (like we learned in class). Gluck did use the weather metaphor nicely though. I thought it was cool that the lover the speaker is talking about actually turns out to be his/her (ex?) marriage partner.

3:56 PM  

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