Saturday, May 10, 2008

Close reading: "After Making Love" by Stephen Dunn

No one should ask the other
"What were you thinking?"

No one, that is,
who doesn't want to hear about the past

and its inhabitants
or the strange loneliness of the present

The stanzas and lines of this poem are very short and broken up. This relates to the "strange loneliness of the present" one feels "After Making Love." The feeling is described as a "strange loneliness" because usually making love is associated with a physical and emotional bond, yet this poem shows a separation that is felt after making love, when feelings are not there. By saying you don't ask, "What were you thinking?" after love making, and the repetition of how no one asks that question shows how each person carries a part of their past with them and through each person they have sex with, they carry memories of past lovers. The word "inhabitants" is an odd way to refer to the people of someones past, like they still linger in the person's mind, no matter who they are with everyone has memories inhabiting their mind reflecting back on past lovers in comparison to a present lover. The enjambment of the lines shows the quick flow of thoughts and the rush one feels after making love. By enjambing "the past/and its inhabitants" shows that hearing about someones past involves hearing about the people and past lovers in that persons life.


jaccoma said...

I found this selection to be a very interesting play on the aspects of what happens "after making love" the poem really does hit the nail on the head with the description of maybe a new couple, both of whom have yet to decipher the other's psyche. Interesting.

Kelly Flannery said...

I like this poem for it's honesty. It's short but to the point The title definitely shows the relationship between love and honesty.