Louise Glück, a Pulitzer-Prize winning poet, is often named to be one of America’s most gifted contemporary poets. Love Poem is one of her numerous works about rejection, loneliness, isolation in family relationships, and loss.
The poem tells the reader a story about the relationships between a mother and a son. The relationships are undoubtedly problematic; they lack love and affection. The son misses his mother’s attention and care while she is getting involved into more and more unsuccessful affairs. It is true that the woman is looking for consolation after the death of her husband, the boy’s father, but her new love partners only leave her in pain after every new separation. Looking for love in strangers, the mother forgets about her son who is the only person able to give her true love and loyalty. She gives him scarves for every Christmas instead of giving him her heart full of love. Such neglect of the child’s needs does have its consequences:
No wonder you are the way you are, afraid of blood, your women like one brick wall after another. (Glück)
It is obvious that the boy who was deprived of love in his childhood has grown up to be a man incapable of building up true relationships filled with affection and care.
The theme of unhappy love is clearly represented in the language Louise Glück uses. Firstly, it is worth noting that the whole poem seems to be colored in red. Red is a color of love; but it is also the color of blood, which means pain. Thus, love and pain are intertwined in the poem and are perceived to be interrelated. This effect of coloring and love-pain interconnection is achieved thanks to the poet’s use of words which denote objects associated with this color as well as with the concept of love. They are the words heart, blood, Christmas, brick walls, etc. They are metaphors which actually denote feelings rather than real objects.
So, Louise Glück’s Love Poem proves to be a poem of unhappy love – the mother’s unhappy marriages, the son’s deficient affairs, and, which is the saddest thing, the ruined relationships between the mother and her child.
Glück, Louise. “Love Poem.” Poem Hunter. Poem Hunter, 2004. Web. 2 Feb. 2016.