Two authors, John Donne and Rita Dove, presented four poems for me to read this week-“A Valediction: “Forbidden Mourning,” “The Flea,” “Fox Trot Fridays,” and “Memorandum.” All four poems have the theme of love in common. However, each poem looks at love from a different angle and the language of the poem helps the reader see love through a different lense.
To begin with, John Donne’s poem “A Valediction: Forbidden Mourning,” uses vivid comparisons to describe parting from a loved one. For example, in his third stanza he talks about “moving of the earth” and “trepidation of the spheres.” These events can be very scary just like separating from someone you may love. He gives a sense of fear but at the same time he says it will be okay- “So let us melt, and make no noise…” Though he is scared to leave the one he loves, the love he feels is so strong he knows that that power will help him and his significant other stay strong as well.
Additionally, in John Donne’s poem “The Flea” he uses a little pointless bug- a flea to describe the meaning of joining together for love. He personifies this flea with the human attributes of sex and conceiving a child. He says, “And pampered swells with one blood made of two, and this, alas is more than we would do.” This example compares the couples joining together in marriage with the joining together of their blood in this flea. It is a bizarre way to exemplify the sexual part of a marriage. He also continues to show some possible unhappiness in the marriage, “Though use make you apt to kill me…” In this example he could be talking about the flea or himself and how his wife may be unhappy with their marriage.
From a different angle of love, Rita Dove’s poem “Fox Trot Fridays” focus on something that reminds her of love rather than someone. From the upbeat and positive way the poem is written I can tell that Fox Trot Fridays is something that the author looks forward too. It brings her happiness in the way she sees lovers dance. Even if it is not her who is in love, just seeing the love being presented in the dance makes her happy and gives her hope for love.
In comparison with the other poems, Rita Dove’s poem “Memorandum” portrays the negative side of falling in love. Her piercing, startling, angered voice is greatly portrayed throughout this “memo” type poem. The listing and categories add to the anger felt by Rita towards this man. The presentation of a poem adds to the voice of the poem. If this poem were written in stanzas the voice would not be as blunt and furious as it is written as a memo.
Overall the poems read for this week present a theme of love. As I did community service through out high school, love was a major theme as well. No matter where I went—the church for free meals, a community fun fair for the homeless, a nursing home, or how much money I raised for foundations there was always love. There was love between all of the people affected because even if they were without money and clothes and food they still had love for each other. My senior year I raised money for a girl who was diagnosed with a brain tumor and was wheelchair bounded. The love that family felt was like the love John Donne expressed in “A Valediction: Forbidden Mourning.” It was scary but they knew with their love they had for one another everything was going to be okay. And when we gave them the money we raised it was like a “Fox Trot Friday” for them—a happy day that brightened their smiles.