Harry Marten: On "The Ache of Marriage"

Without either romanticizing or lamenting, the poet acknowledges "The Ache of Marriage," the pain and promise of relationship: "thigh and tongue, beloved, are heavy with it, / it throbs in the teeth." "We look," she explains, "for communion / and are turned away, beloved, / each and each." It can be a trap of biblical proportions:


It is leviathan and we

in its belly

looking for joy, some joy

not to be known outside it....


But, too, like the biblical ark, it signals hope and perhaps salvation in the eye of a storm for those who are, after all, "two by two in the ark of / the ache of it."


Title Harry Marten: On "The Ache of Marriage" Type of Content Criticism
Criticism Author Harry Marten Criticism Target Denise Levertov
Criticism Type Poet Originally Posted 08 Jun 2020
Publication Status Excerpted Criticism Publication Understanding Denise Levertov
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