Unfinished Love Theorem Poem Analysis

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The online Oxford Dictionary states that a theorem is a “general proposition not self-evident but proved by a chain of reasoning; a truth established by means of accepted truths” (OUP). Kate Camp’s poem Unfinished Love Theorem explores the various facets of love, in order to formulate a theory about it. The poem takes the reader on a journey through these discrete theories in an attempt to prove what love is. That it is an ‘unfinished’ theory suggests love is a complex emotion and therefore hard to define. The poem is in free form and divided into five stanzas of unequal length. Weaving through the poem is a series of metaphors, these link physical aspects of life to abstract ideas regarding love. The essence of these changing metaphors remains the same: love is a journey, a journey of…show more content…
Now the speaker is experiencing love, they are “in amongst it” (16) and their view has changed. No longer is love irregular and uneven, now it has steadied and settled into lines. The trick is to work out the direction of these lines and find a pathway through the maze of possibilities. The boat has become a train and the journey to find love is a map, going in all directions. That it is “underground … hidden” (17) implies it is still not easy to find or to follow. Like the stars of stanza three, we have to learn to read the signs. The lack of a “scale” (18) confirms the immeasurability of love and echoes the mathematical theorem this poem hopes to define. Until now, the speaker has focussed on their own concept of love and, as in the previous stanzas, there is a shift in ideas in the second part of the stanza. The focus moves away from the speaker to include everyone and the way love is a part of every facet of life. It takes us to work, it takes us out in the evenings and it takes us home to our beds. These bedrooms are “rumpled” (21), love has taken on a physicality, and it is becoming a more concrete concept for the

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