Saturday, December 14, 2013

Analysis of "The Masks of Love" by Alden Nowlan

Original poem reprinted online here: "The Masks of Love" by Alden Nowlan
Originally read: June 18, 2013
More information about the Poet: Alden Nowlan


I didn't highlight anything for this poem.  I just put notes on the side for each stanza.  Why?  Past me was more interested in the flow of the poem.  And me, currently, has to agree.  The poem is not about flashy techniques -- rather, the poem has two quatrains that serve as an exposition, and then a question.

Exposition:

     I come in from a walk
     With you
     And they ask me
     If it is raining.

Pretty straight forward and simple enough.  There's the speaker and the other walking in from somewhere, and "they" ask if there is rain.  Three parties in this part: the speaker, the "you", and the "they."  No big tonal points, and no big technique points.

Question:

     I didn't notice
     But I'll have to give them
     The right answer
      Or they'll think I"m crazy.

Past me wrote, "The 'now' having to lie or figure out -- scene or atmosphere" and "'cute' however the consequences of "they" thinking the speaker is crazy is minimal."  And if I thought this was the poem itself, then this poem comes of too simple, and so what? (ah that annoying question).

The "so what" is this for me.  It's the way the speaker gets flustered. The way that the "you" has disappeared from the second stanza and then focuses directly on the question -- what is the right answer?  That, within this relationship, that what "they" think has a lot of weight.  How much?  Well, that's the speaker's point of view.

And this is why I can reread this poem and not be bored with it.  The second part could be interpreted in many different ways -- a dangerous fluster, or a lovesick bumbling.  But there's no pressure to think one way or the other.  Whatever strikes the reader at the moment -- the poem is still relatable in some sense. Simple technique, complex answer.

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