A. Imagery (1): Roses are Red: Of Roses and Hearts
ShakespeareSonnet 130 21
The sonnet is an example of a blazon (a list of the qualities of the different parts of
the beloved’s body), but in this case the speaker deliberately says the beloved is NOT
as fair as the sun, as white as snow, as red as roses. All those usual poetic images
feel false. The speaker marks his sincerity by rejecting them.
Burns“A Red, Red Rose”148
A famous love song.
Sands o’ life: the image is of an hourglass
Carson “Tango IX: But What Word Was It”939
The speaker is a woman recalling an episode with a lover when she was still a girl
and living at home. The family had recently moved but her suitor from the old town
simply appeared one day. He gave her eleven roses, ten white and one red. Her
mother thinks that the one red rose has meaning: that it means the daughter lost
her virginity. She can smell sex on her daughter (l.35). The daughter feels caught
between forces: her lover who refuses to tell her things and her mother who insists
on knowing things.
According to Greek myth, Hades, God of the underworld or Hell, fell in love with
Persephone and kidnapped her and took her with him below the earth. Her mother
Demeter, the goddess of crops, was distraught and wouldn’t let anything grow. The
other gods intervened and forced Hades to let Persephone go, which he agreed to as
long as she had not eaten something from the underworld. But she had: she had
taken a bite of a pomegranate. So now she spends half the year with her mother
(and the earth enjoys summer) and half the year with Hades in the underworld
(when the earth suffers Demeter’s unhappiness and winter).
Pandemonium: literally, all devils; chaos
Duffy “Valentine” 984
“The Love Poem” 988
This is about the impossibility of finding original language to express love.
Solie “Dear Heart”1016
This poem is directly addressed to her heart, the organ in her body.
Glass jaw: said of someone who is very susceptible to a punch.
Sweetmeat: organ like the heart or the brain or the lungs that can be eaten