Contours of Love and Perspectives in Poetic Expressions

Categories: Poems


In this essay, I will explore two distinct poems - "Hour" and "Sonnet 43." Both delve into the nuances of love, but with opposing perspectives. While "Sonnet 43" depicts love as timeless, "Hour" takes a more modern stance, suggesting love's fleeting nature. In this essay, I dissect these verses, unraveling their forms, styles, and emotional nuances. The goal is to highlight the diverse views these poets offer on the endurance of love.

Comparative Analysis of Love

The heart of both poems pulsates with love, yet their essence diverges.

"Sonnet 43" paints love as an enduring force, unwavering and all-encompassing. Elizabeth Barrett Browning, the poet, weaves a narrative where love remains undefeated, eternal, and profound. In contrast, "Hour" adopts a modern lens, asserting that love is not immune to time's relentless ticking. Duffy contends that love is transient, unable to withstand the ceaseless march of time.

Form and Style

"Sonnet 43" exudes an old-world charm, evident in its structure and references. The poem embraces iambic pentameter, evoking a timeless elegance.

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The echoes of Shakespeare's "how do I love thee?" add to its traditional allure. The poem entwines with religious undertones, anchoring it in the spiritual and cultural ethos of the past. Conversely, "Hour" dons a contemporary mantle, structured with three quatrains. Its loosely-based sonnet form aligns with a modern interpretation, drawing inspiration from fairy tales like "Rumplestiltskin."

Use of Repetition

Browning employs "I love thee" in "Sonnet 43," a refrain echoing throughout. This repetition serves a dual purpose - a convincing proclamation to the recipient and, perhaps, a reaffirmation to the poet herself.

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It becomes a rhythmic cadence, introducing various facets of love. In "Hour," repetition finds its place in the recurrence of "gold." Duffy suggests that love, like gold, is precious, treasured, and maybe even comparable to currency, alluding to its inherent value.

Use of Rhyme

The rhyming scheme in "Sonnet 43" remains unstructured, reflecting the overwhelming passion in its verses. As love is dynamic, the lack of a fixed rhyme mirrors its fluidity. Conversely, "Hour" adopts a structured rhyme with an 'abab' pattern. This deliberate structure conveys a fixed perception - the characters' belief that love opposes time. It also suggests thoughtful consideration, in contrast to the spontaneity found in "Sonnet 43."

Exploration of Feelings in Poems

In "Hour," the poet articulates urgency, urging the need to cherish love without resorting to extravagant gestures. The poet desires simplicity, advocating for the enjoyment of each other's company without the need for lavish expenditures. "Sonnet 43," on the other hand, delves into profound feelings for the partner. The emphasis is on convincing the recipient of the depth of the poet's love, referencing the "sun" and "candlelight" and expressing a love that endures even beyond death.

Feelings Toward Love Itself

"Hour" paints love as a prisoner to time, vulnerable and subject to the inevitable passage of hours. The imagery of being "millionaires, backhanding the night" suggests an attempt to bribe time with the currency of love, emphasizing its power and the strength it provides. In "Sonnet 43," the relationship between the speaker and love is portrayed as controlling, yet essential for survival. Love becomes the sustaining force, an omnipresent companion that will endure through the trials of life.

Realism vs. Idealism in Love

"Hour" offers a pragmatic view, acknowledging the impermanence of love and cautioning against its squandering. The poet contends that if love is not treated with reverence, it becomes worthless, succumbing to the relentless hands of time. In contrast, "Sonnet 43" emanates an idealistic aura, proclaiming the eternal nature of love. It posits that love, once forged, is unassailable and everlasting, a sentiment that resonates with romantic idealists.

Conclusion on Love Themes

In the tapestry of contrasting views on love, "Hour" and "Sonnet 43" emerge as threads woven with diverse hues. The former, a realist's canvas, paints love as transient, a fragile entity susceptible to time's erosion. The latter, an idealist's masterpiece, immortalizes love as an enduring force, weathering the storms of existence. The resonance of these poems lies in their ability to encapsulate the spectrum of human emotions tethered to the enigma of love.

Unseen Poetry Section B

Transitioning to an exploration of an additional poem on approaching poetry, the writer advocates for a nuanced and deliberate engagement. The poet's imagery, likening the poem to a hostage, reflects a lamentation about students who approach poems with stubborn resistance to understanding. The analogy of "tying the poem to a chair with rope" underscores the idea that students often coerce poems into revealing their meanings rather than embracing the exploration themselves.

The writer implores students to adopt a multi-sensory approach, urging them to "hold [the poem] up to the light like a color slide." This metaphor suggests that despite the seemingly monochromatic nature of the poem, diligent scrutiny reveals a vibrant array of ideas. The incorporation of senses, such as hearing and touch, underscores the poet's call for a comprehensive exploration, moving beyond surface-level analysis.

Each stanza within the poem acts as a directive, guiding students through a tactile and sensory exploration of the poem. The advice to "press an ear against its hive" evokes an image of a three-dimensional poem teeming with lively ideas. The poet emphasizes the need to engage the senses, even using the metaphor of scanning the page as if one were navigating the ocean depths, searching for clues beneath the surface.

The concluding stanzas encapsulate the importance of retaining a connection with the poet, likening it to waving at the author on the shore. This gesture symbolizes a recognition of the creative mind behind the poem and a reminder to consider the poet's perspective and intentions. The overall message resonates with the idea that approaching poetry requires a deliberate, patient, and multi-sensory exploration, a far cry from the notion of coercing meaning from a captive poem.

Conclusion on Poetry Approach

As the exploration of these poems and the additional text draws to a close, the resounding message is one of depth and engagement. Poetry, in its nuanced beauty, requires more than a cursory glance or a forceful extraction of meaning. Instead, the reader is encouraged to embark on a sensory journey, peeling back layers, and embracing the subtleties that lie beneath the surface. The metaphorical tying of poems to chairs is replaced by a call for students to delicately and thoroughly navigate the rich tapestry of poetic expression.

Updated: Jan 11, 2024
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Contours of Love and Perspectives in Poetic Expressions. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from

Contours of Love and Perspectives in Poetic Expressions essay
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