Wish For A Young Wife, by Theodore Roethke

1466 WordsJul 11, 20186 Pages
“Wish for a Young Wife”, by Theodore Roethke, may seem to be more than just a simple epithalamium, for the way the poet presents his writing compels the reader to question his true intentions. Nevertheless, although it is easy for the reader to trip down this path, a closer reading, in which one pays particular attention to aspects such the poem's imagery, rhyme scheme, meter, and parallelism, allows them to acknowledge that as the poet appreciates his wife and elaborates on what he wants for her, it is in fact the ambiguity of the poem that doubles the effect of his sincerity and love for his young wife. What is intriguing to note is that the poet does not gradually build a sense of obscurity in his reader, but instead, promptly…show more content…
What really puts everything into perspective is the claim that the poet might have referred to a lizard because it is a cold-blooded creature and depends upon the sun for its body heat, which is where he thinks his wife's beauty amplifies the most. Therefore this analysis only helps build upon Roethke's level of genuineness, so as to make it obvious that he is in fact very serious about expressing his love for his wife, and that by this point in the poem, the reader should not be questioning his true intentions. Through the poem's imagery, it seems as if the speaker is purposefully painting an ambiguous picture of himself, but is also successful in slowly perfecting it by the end of the poem. Likewise, he also applies this idea towards the rhyme scheme, catching the reader off guard once again. The first two lines, “My lizard, my lively writher / may your limbs never wither,” is a slant rhyme, as well as the next two lines that follow. Recognizing the rhyme scheme of these four lines forces the reader to question the obvious: Why would a poet deliberately play with the rhyme scheme if he is only trying to express his true, sincere feelings for someone? One could argue that Roethke does this to compliment his playful imagery at the beginning of the poem, both of which keep his reader attentive and focused. Moreover, building this sense of obscurity also gives the poem a deeper meaning and adds a new twist to what otherwise would have been an ordinary love poem.

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