Saturday, November 24, 2007

To The Man I Married by Angela Manalang Gloria

Angela Manalang Gloria's poem, "To the Man I Married," metaphorically portrays her love for her husband by comparing her need for him to her need for the earth.

Angela Manalang Gloria’s "To the Man I Married" is a combination English/Italian sonnet: it consists of an octave with the rime scheme ABABCDCD and in the sestet EFEFGG.
The overall rime-scheme is that of the English sonnet, but instead of three quatrains and a couplet, it features the octave and sestet. Part II consists of two rimed quatrains with the rime scheme ABAB, ACDC.

In the octave, the speaker makes the bold claim addressing the man she married: "You are my earth and all that earth implies." The speaker’s claim alerts the reader to a metaphorical comparison: the addressee is her earth.

And just what does "earth" imply? Because the person is her earth, he supplies her necessities for life:

"air" that she breathes, the fertile soil where her food is grown.

"gravity that ballasts me in space,"

He gives her direction by his "orbit" that "marks [her] way / And sets [her] north and south, [her] east and west."

As most octaves in Italian sonnets do, this octave has offered a thought that will receive a twist in the sestet. While the octave implies a very close and sustaining relationship between the speaker and her husband, the sestet asserts that that closeness does not completely satisfy all of the needs of the speaker as an individual: "If in your arms that hold me now so near / I lift my keening thoughts to another one."

Even as she acknowledges her close, nurturing relationship with her husband, she finds that she needs "another one," because of her "keening thoughts." And then she metaphorically compares herself to a tree whose roots though "long rooted to the earth" raise their "leaves and flowers to the sun."

She needs the earth, but she also needs the sky, just as the earth does, just as trees need the sun. That does not diminish her love for and attachment to her husband, who is her earth. The speaker wants to make that fact quite clear so she repeats her claim

"You who are earth, O never doubt that I / Need you no less because I need the sky."

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