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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

"The Look" by Jean Valentine

As featured on Ron's blog today...

I am a fan of hers, poems like this one being a good reason why.

The Look

Pain took me, but / makes ref to "being taken" sexually, perhaps, and the pain that is sometimes associated with a first sexual experience, though also the passiveness of being taken suggests perhaps the pain was an absence of feeling (hollowness, detachment, it is later compared, I think, to "shade," i.e. the absence of light) rather than one of excess

not woke me--no, / but this introduction to sensual pleasure was void, and she was not "woken" to its finer points

years later, your
woke me:
/ she speaks as if to a lover, recognizing his (assuming) look/gaze as a different form of taking, but turning that about and also doubling the word as a noun: his look, or appearance--she looks back, the taking and giving becomes mutual in this experience
each shade and light: / the visual opposites seem to tie back into to the looking that's now going both ways, and also to sort of echo the contrast (as between shade and light) of the experience in paragraph 1 and this one in paragraph 2, "light" being necessary for looking

to earth-love then / another, even more expansive, form of love is introduced, and also a larger sphere of experience is sensualized now that she is "awake" and mutually engaged, feeling attracted/appreciative/responsive to/toward earth, i.e. everything, but also the physical world--the body of the planet--via this new sense of connectedness
I came, / pretty obviously a sexual refrence, but also harkens back to "woke" as in the sense of "coming to" or even "coming to know or being introduced to"
the first
beach grasses.
/ and this third experience of love encompasses not just the speaker and her lover but their environment, perhaps a romantic location near the shore. i could make a witty remark re: pubes but i'll refrain.

So in this miniature poem, three experiences of sensual love, each deeper than the last, and the "look" that "woke" her serving as the key to her maturing/expanding perspective/experience.

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