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Poetry and Love

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The two poems “Magic of Love” by Helen Farries and “Love Poem” by John Frederick Nims are both poems with the central theme of love. The ways that these two authors express this theme differ significantly from each other and show two spectrums of love in literature. Through their use of syntax, diction, rhyme, and meter, these poets portray love in a unique and personal manner that illicit specific emotions from the reader for a variety of possible reasons, which will be analyzed in this essay.

The poem by Helen Farries, “Magic of Love”, immediately has a light-hearted tone due to the positive choice in diction, the third word of the entire poem being “wonderful” which strongly backs up the happy mood. The diction remains lighthearted throughout the rest of the poem and almost suffocates the quality of it with an overbearing of cliché similes and sensory words. This also causes a sort of child-like quality to the poem as they are also extremely low-end diction words that even the most illiterate would understand and causes the poem to seem like it is designed with immature or childish personalities in mind, evident from whimsical phrases such as “the wonderful MAGIC OF LOVE!”

The meter and stressed syllables of the poem create a very distinct sing-song-like quality as the rhythm and rhyme copy that of a child’s nursery rhyme. The stress on the last line of the first and last stanza on this already extremely loud and intense poem (due to syntax) is an unnecessary loop that brings the reader back to the topic. This is due to the choice in diction, the central topic, love, is only named three times in the entirety of this work yet is mentioned as “it” in nearly every single line. The childish quality calls for an obvious rhyme scheme, two internal rhymes and two end rhymes in each stanza. This paired with punctuation limited to dashes, commas, and exclamation points to end each sentence, makes this piece overtly boisterous to express the excitement and celebration of love.

Overall, the poem is effective in expressing a happy and positive reaction towards love, however leans into the realm of cliché which possibly limits the receptive audience. Even in assuming the general audience is receptive of the idea that love is something to be cherished and celebrated, the over-done quality of the piece makes for a saturated expression and exasperates every possible whimsical quality of the subject with blatant terms.

Unlike this, however, is Nims’ poem plainly titled “Love Poem”. This work is on the entirely other end of the spectrum from Farries’ poem with its calm overtones and meaningful words used to express a more profound and realistic view of how love can be cherished and celebrated. Nims shows a better understanding of literary devices as he uses many to his advantage in order to express a complicated and profound view of an intimate and outreaching love. His subject, the one that embodies and is subjected to his theme of love, is loved by many and perhaps even all as she could be the personification of love itself. Her destructive and chaotic presence leaves traces on everyone’s lives yet they see through the bad qualities to find the true essence of what it means to love and be loved, cherishing the good despite the bad. Though her touch is careless and her actions are clumsy and hardly thought out, she means well and only wants those around her to be happy; this shows a balance in life and love that keeps people in an overall stable existence with each other.

This is further supported with the many shifts Nims uses between nearly every stanza. The pattern of negative, positive, negative balances the good and bad of the loved one – her faults are countered by her good qualities as mentioned before. With this deep meaning in mind, the reader is further drawn into this profound thought with the elevated choice in diction and creative use of metaphor. A mixture of extreme words is chosen to create slurries of intense imagery to describe the sort of “give and take” aspect love has in this poem. While the metaphors are not extended, they span out most of the poem to describe both the literal aspects and the implied qualities of the subject.

Her actions which seem to be a literal transcription could perhaps be allusions to the underlying theme of personified love; the help and sympathy she offers to strangers is the light that love offers to anyone and her reckless actions in the face of danger could easily be the author’s belief that love inadvertently causes chaos through its path to good will. In conclusion, these two poems express the same love and yet express it in two dramatically different ways. Both are effective in their purpose and use such literary devices used in poetry such as rhythm, diction, syntax, and rhyme to get their point across as easily or as jaded as they intended; their methods were unique and illicit the appropriate response from most readers due to careful choices and passionate attention to the intricate existence of love itself.

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