Remembrance, Maya Angelou: Summary & Analysis

"Remembrance" by Maya Angelou is a sensuous and evocative poem that explores the lingering impact of a lover's presence and the intense emotions associated with memory. Through vivid imagery and intimate language, the poem delves into the connection between physical and emotional sensations, as well as the powerful hold of memory.

Remembrance by Maya Angelou

Your hands easy
weight, teasing the bees
hived in my hair, your smile at the
slope of my cheek. On the
occasion, you press
above me, glowing, spouting
readiness, mystery rapes
my reason
When you have withdrawn
your self and the magic, when
only the smell of your
love lingers between
my breasts, then, only
then, can I greedily consume
your presence.

Summary

"Remembrance" is an intimate exploration of the lasting impact of a lover's touch, smile, and presence. The poem delves into the sensual aspects of memory, highlighting the connection between physical sensations and emotional longing. It portrays the powerful ability of memory to evoke intense feelings of desire even in the absence of the beloved.

Critical Analysis

"Remembrance" captures the sensuality and emotional depth of memory. The opening lines describe the lover's hands as an "easy weight," teasing the bees in the speaker's hair. This imagery invokes a tactile and intimate sensation, setting the tone for the rest of the poem.

The imagery of the lover's smile and its effect on the speaker's cheek emphasizes the physical and emotional impact of the beloved's presence. The phrase "glowing, spouting / readiness" suggests a sense of anticipation and desire, creating a vivid portrayal of the lover's allure.

The unexpected and provocative phrase "mystery rapes / my reason" conveys the overwhelming nature of the speaker's emotions. This line captures the intense and irresistible pull of desire and passion, overriding rational thought.

The poem then shifts to the aftermath of the lover's departure. The smell of the lover's love "lingers between / my breasts," symbolizing the enduring presence of their memory. The word "greedily" in "can I greedily consume / your presence" conveys the speaker's intense longing to relive and immerse herself in the memory of the beloved.

Themes of the Poem

  • Memory and Sensuality: The poem explores the profound impact of memory on the senses, evoking intense emotional and physical responses.
  • Desire and Longing: The poem delves into the theme of desire and the enduring power of attraction even in the absence of the beloved.
  • Intimacy: The intimate and sensual language of the poem underscores the deep connection between the speaker and the beloved.

Stylistic Analysis

  • Imagery: The poem employs vivid sensory imagery to create a rich and evocative depiction of the lover's impact on the speaker.
  • Sensual Language: The sensual and tactile language enhances the poem's emotional impact and reinforces its themes.

Attitudes/Feelings

  • Passion: The poem conveys the intense passion and desire that memory evokes, even in the absence of the beloved.
  • Longing: The speaker's longing to relive and consume the memory of the beloved is a central emotion in the poem.

Language

  • Metaphorical Language: The poem uses metaphor to convey the enduring presence of the lover's memory and its impact on the speaker.
  • Provocative Language: The poem's provocative language, such as "mystery rapes / my reason," conveys the depth of the speaker's emotional experience.

Sound Devices

  • Rhythm: The rhythmic flow of the poem contributes to its sensual and evocative quality, enhancing its emotional resonance.

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