William Drake: On "A Mona Lisa"
The poignance of the need for an ideal of womanhood, an image of self as spiritually beautiful, can be seen especially in Angelina Grimké, who never attempted to publish her sheaf of love poems addressed to women, written over a period of years to, probably, a number of different people. "Rosabel," for example, plays on the name "Rose,"
whose soul unfolds white petaled,
Touch her soul, rose white,
Rose whose thoughts unfold gold petaled
Blossom in her light,
Rose whose heart unfolds red petaled
Quick in her slow heart's stir
Tell her white, gold, red my love is;--
And for her,--for her.
There are tormented poems of crises in relationships, poems of loss, poems of painful yearning, all seemingly written only for her own eyes. There are sensuous poems, like "Mona Lisa," ending in self-obliteration:
I should like to creep
Through the long brown grasses
That are your lashes . . .,
and "deeply drown" in "the leaf-brown pools/ That are your shadowed eyes." "I dream of you all night," she says to "A Woman." A late-written, untitled poem recalls scalding memories,
The hot night
Hot lips . . .
My old wasted body
With my wrinkled hands
On my lap
Hot, hard tears
All because of you . . .
|Title||William Drake: On "A Mona Lisa"||Type of Content||Criticism|
|Criticism Author||William Drake||Criticism Target||Angelina Weld Grimké|
|Criticism Type||Poet||Originally Posted||15 Jun 2020|
|Publication Status||Excerpted Criticism||Publication||The First Wave: Women Poets in America, 1915-1945|
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