Last Night The next day, I am almost afraid. Love? It was more like dragonflies in the sun, 100 degrees at noon, the ends of their abdomens stuck together, I close my eyes when I remember. I hardly knew myself, like something twisting and twisting out of a chrysalis, enormous, without language, all head, all shut eyes, and the humming like madness, the way they writhe away, and do not leave, back, back, away, back. Did I know you? No kiss, no tenderness–more like killing, death-grip holding to life, genitals like violent hands clasped tight barely moving, more like being closed in a great jaw and eaten, and the screamingOrder now
I groan to remember it, and when we started to die, then I refuse to remember, the way a drunkard forgets. After, you held my hands extremely hard as my body moved in shudders like the ferry when its axle is loosed past engagement, you kept me sealed exactly against you, our hairlines wet as the arc of a gateway after a cloudburst, you secured me in your arms till I slept– that was love, and we woke in the morning clasped, fragrant, buoyant, that was the morning after love. Claim: The poem is about a person who fell in love. They were surprised by this, because it was a whirlwind romance and unexpected.
The author is surprised by the love and also a little afraid by it. The writer uses metaphors and analysis to set out the scene. There is a sexual theme throughout the poem. After sex they embraced and held each other, then when the subject wakes up they feel the joy of it. I see it as love described in all its brutality and the moment is described as being completely lost in a moment. Maybe it’s a one night stand, or maybe it’s all about falling in love for the first time. It may not necessarily be the first time that they had sex, but it’s definitely the first time that they were in love.
I also think it is interesting that we do not know the gender of the subject in the poem. The author is a female so maybe it is a tale of real life, or equally it could be a fantasy poem from the point of view of either sex. Some of the terminology implies to me that the subject is submissive sexually, which possibly would usually indicate a female. Evidence: The first sentence “I’m afraid”, I think the author is afraid of love/sex. ”Love? It was more like dragonflies” This is a strange, whimsical experience that leaves her wondering about its affects. ”in the sun, 100 degrees at noon” Dragonflies live by using the sun to heat their bodies… nd I think it might implies the author needs the warmth to keep her alive. It also could imply the physical heat and passion of the intercourse. “the ends of their abdomens stuck together “ dragonflies have abdomens, these are used when they have sexual intercourse. We can infer from this that the human subjects in the poem used their sexual organs while having intercourse. “close my eyes when I remember. I hardly knew myself, like something twisting and twisting out of a chrysalis” A chrysalis is the stage before a butterfly’s full maturity (with dragonfly’s this is call the nymph state, their life cycle is different)… his moment is baffling, mysterious and pleasurable. It’s a moment that she will remember as she closes her eyes, seeing those flashbacks of love-making. “enormous, without language, all head, all shut eyes, and the humming like madness, the way they writhe away” All metaphorical, the moments in which one writhes during sex, is similar to the moment a butterfly emerges as it makes its way out of the chrysalis. It is lost, writhing and wriggling for birth. Only at that moment it breaks free, will it realize this new born infancy. To do so, it must wriggle and writhe away, just as we do whilst having sex.
Some moments can be illusive and lost on emotions and writhing for love. “and do not leave, back, back, away, back. Did I know you? No kiss,no tenderness–more like killing, death-grip” Now we are being taken on a journey by the writer, as she describes these moments violently. I think it’s to do with pleasure, rather than pain. These two are so intimate at this moment that they just want to be as close as possible. They hold each other tight, hands and the position of his abdomen, which lacks movement, suggesting that he just stays as far in as possible.
This also indicates that one partner is sexually dominant the other is submissive. “holding to life, genitals like violent hands clasped tightbarely moving, more like being closed in a great jaw and eaten, and the screaming “ This sounds violent and rough, but I’m sure that it is meant in a pleasurable way. “I groan to remember it, and when we started to die, then I refuse to remember” Started to die is surely the meaning for the moments in which they might pass close to orgasm. “ the way a drunkard forgets.
After,” I think this is very much a climax. It’s a moment that we cannot describe, nor replicate. “you held my hands extremely hard as my body moved in shudders like the ferry when its” This is the moment of climax, the moment of orgasm, the moment when they let go and trembled, shuddered uncontrollably. “axle is loosed past engagement, you kept me sealed exactly against you, our hairlines wet as the arc of a gateway after a cloudburst, you secured me in your arms till I slept” The cloudburst… urely his orgasm. They are close together, even after both of them have climaxed, even after this pulsing moment has passed… they hold and stay together, clasped with tight hands and bodies… intertwined. So much so, that she fell asleep with their bodies pressed against each other. “that was love, and we woke in the morning” That was her realization, that all of this craziness was actually the moment they felt love. “clasped, fragrant, buoyant, that was” o much so was their love intertwined, that they awoke together, in the same position, smelling of sex/love and full of optimism (buoyant). “the morning after love. ” This is her final synopsis, the morning after all this crazy rough sex, after the love was found. Conclusion: This poem is basically about sex, we can tell from the words and metaphors the author chose and the way she describes it. What I’m trying to get is the relationship between the subjects, as the author mentioned love and contradicts this by mentioning “no kiss, no tenderness”.
My guessing is that this might be either a one night stand or just a story of two people who found love surprisingly through having sex. Of course there might be the possibility that the author just loves sex so much that she describes it in an artistic way. However, there are lots of details of emotion, the moment between a one night stand and a passionate night of making love are rather similar. Nevertheless, I don’t feel that a night of pleasure is filled with what came afterwards. One of the possibilities is this can be a crazy one night stand where love was found instantly.
Or it is (more realistically) the moment in which a person has found love in their partner, has gone through this pulsating moment of richness and wonder, to come out of the other side, confused and bewildered, yet extremely satisfied at what they have experienced, and finally know what it means to love. I found this poem to be interesting and insightful, overall it was very thought provoking. When I initially read it, I did not at first see some of the key themes behind it. The more I analyzed each line and detail, the more I could appreciate the subtle details of the authors writing style.