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A Woman to her Lover by Christina Walsh

Asked by katerox | Jan 17, 2005 | GCSE Level > English > Coursework
katerox asks:

Hey, i need info on this poem, about stanzas, rythm, ryhme and anything really! Thanku

etutor answers:
Some motes and questions to get you started: Do you come to me to bend me to your will as conqueror to the vanquished to make of me a bondslave to bear you children, wearing out my life in drudgery and silence no servant will i be if that be what you ask. O lover i refuse you!

[ comment on 'conqueror'/ 'vanquished'/ 'bondslave'/'servant'. What is she refusing to be?]

Or if you think to wed with one from heaven sent whose every deed and word and wish is golden a wingless angel who can do no wrong go! - i am no doll to dress and sit for feeble worship if that be what you ask, fool, i refuse you!

[comment on 'wingless angel'/'doll'/ 'feeble worship'- note the rhythm and alliteration of 'w' in line 2 to suggest harmony; what is she saying she won't be?]

Or if you think in me to find a creature who will have no greater joy than gratify your clamorous desire, my skin soft only for your fond caresses my body supple only for your sense delight. Oh shame, and pity and abasement. Not for you the hand of any wakened woman of our time.

[What is she saying she's not there for? Note the repetition of the 's' sound supporting the idea of sexual desire and the satisfaction of the senses]

But lover, if you ask of me that i shall be your comrade, friend, and mate, to live and work, to love and die with you, that so together we may know the purity and height of passion, and of joy and sorrow, then o husband, i am yours forever and our co-equal love will make the stars to laugh with joy and to its circling fugue pass, hand holding hand until we reach the very heart of god.

[what views of relationships does she offer here]

What kind of poem is this? Who does she address? Does it have an idealised views of love in the final stanza?

It is written in free verse, by the way. Hope this helps by the way.

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