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To My Wife April 29, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — charlottepierce13 @ 11:59 am

To My Wife by Oscar Wilde

I can write no stately poem
As a prelude to my lay;
From a poet to a poem
I would dare to say.

For if of these fallen petals
One to you seem fair,
Love will waft it till it settles
On your hair.

And when wind and winter harden
All the loveless land,
It will whisper of the garden,
You will understand.

This poem has a casual, communicative feel.  Wilde seems to reference private jokes between him and his wife.  In the first stanza, he proposes that he is incapable of writing poetry and that a poet talking to his poem is silly but then proceeds to do both. Then there is a shift in his style in the second stanza, becoming more artistic and metaphorical.  The comparison of his poetry to fallen petals is both a compliment and a insult.  It is pretty, fragrant, delicate, but fleeting, subject to destruction, his wife’s judgement.  Later, he broadens from just poetry to all of his writing in the image of the garden.  Winter represents life getting tougher but that she will always understand the ‘whispers of the garden.”  Subjectively, I knew while reading this that Oscar Wilde was gay and I couldn’t help but perceive this poem as a last effort to bridge a gap with his wife, all the while being condemned by society.  In prison, he was told to forget who he was and I think the connections he tries to hold onto with his wife are an effort against this.  Also, I saw many hints of worry of his wife’s rejection(to you seem fair, on your hair) and reproach toward those who condemned him(wind and winter harden, loveless land).  This poem is very sad-literature is his last portal to express himself, and even in this, he must mask his true messages through figurative language.

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