Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Analysis of "The Blessing" by John Updike

Poem found here: "The Blessing" by John Updike


The poem is a response to "A Blessing" by James Wright, So the question being is how much can this poem compare to the other, or does this poem stand on its own.

The initial image of "The room darkened, darkened until / our nakedness became a form of gray;" in more of a suffocating image while the James Wright poem seems to expand outward, but these lines have the same vulnerabilities that Wright's poem exposes when it goes into internal projection of the horses.

But here, here we have generalities:

     the rain came bursting,
     and we were sheltered, blessed,
     upheld in a world of elements
     that held us justified.

Note how the vulnerabilities are easily shored up with being "sheltered" versus the "A Blessing" again going outward and being further vulnerable.  However this poem is more straight forward about "love":

     In all the love I had felt for you before,
     in all that love,
     there was no love
     like that I felt when the rain began:

Four lines, three mentions of "love,"  but the interesting thing about the structure is the third line with "there was no love" in which the enjambment changes the meaning of the poem for a split second -- as though this was the real vulnerability internally which is then shifted as a "misunderstanding" by the simile, "like that I felt when the rain began" as to go back to the exterior -- the physical.

"dim room, enveloping rush / the slenderness of your throat, / the blessed slenderness."  So here's the thing with this poem -- the slender neck in "A Blessing" refers to the mare the speaker is infatuated and could "burst into blossom"; but, the speaker of that poem had to step outside his body to feel that.

The speaker of this poem returns back to the body.  There is no breaking and there is no blossom, just this reassertion of love -- of the physical, the conceptual, well, isn't it "justified" enough?

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