Love is such an abstract concept for the human mind to figure out. Along with the love of a mother for her child, there are many types of sensual love or brotherly love; friendship is frequently described as a type of love, as well. This abstraction can also be distorted and made to fit into categories that would normally be associated with negativity and abuse not "love." Think of why a woman will continually go back to an abusive spouse with the irrational reason that "he loves me." If he loved you, he wouldn't beat you…Would he? In a poem, the confusion seems only to extend, as writers will describe a beautiful event that is tainted by a bad experience or emotion. In this manner, word choice plays a primary role in determining the actual meaning of the poem. Clare Rossini, in her poem entitled "Final Love Note" and Louise Gluck, in her poem "Mock Orange," both use carefully chosen language to portray different aspects of the concept that we, in individual and often irrational ways, use to explain "love." These particular writers use words of love and hate to explain extremely passionate feelings toward their personal relationships-and nature, an elm tree, and a Mock Orange bush, to be exact.
Clare Rossini's ", Final Love Note," reflects a depth of emotion that, on the surface, is directed towards an elm tree that has died and must be cut down. She opens the poem describing an intensely intimate state in a relationship, and it is her word choice that reflects deeper into her love, than merely sadness due to the loss of a tree. "For months we've been together, hardly wanton,/ never touching. Yet your shade commingled/ with my clot...
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...n the world?" (lines 21-24).
Although Gluck and Rossini write of separate experiences and emotions related to both love and plants, their word choice is what keys the reader in to their meaning. By evaluating the language usage of a poet, a reader comes to appreciate the careful planning and preparation that goes into each poem of value. These writers know each of the meanings and definitions of the words that they chose, and as we have seen with Gluck, and especially Rossini, that choice has a great impact on how a reader will relate to the poems. With such abstract concepts as love and intimacy, it is the word usage that a writer must rely upon to convey the appropriate message.
Gluck, Louise. Mock Orange Available at
Rossini, Clare. Final Love Note Class Handout
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