The speaker in this poem is a woman who is clearly talking to a man but, I feel like there is some generalization here and no clear person is being addressed. This is why I like this poem too, the anounymouse nature of the poem coupled with the teasing tone of a conniving woman, is funny to me. "Oh, I can smile for you...and paint my mouth for you a fragrant red" Here the speaker is having a dialogue with the universal male who is attracted to her. She points out throughout the poem, certain stereotypical ways of inticing a man and being overly feminine.
This poem is also interesting because the reader doesn't have a full understanding of the speaker until the end of the poem. The beginning stanza is all the back-and-forth of flirting and dating that the speaker talks of almost boringly. But, she also hints of her deeper nature, "nor can you ever see the thousand little deaths my heart has died." This sad statement changes the tone from a playful flirt to the darker soul of a woman with history.
The final statement of the speaker at the end, "And what goes on, my love, while you're away, you'll never know", truly alluminates her real self. Throughout the beginning of the poem the fakeness of her life was shown but slowly enough the sadness was exposed. When she says "my love", I have doubts that she actually means it or is just talking in the same fake tone as when she discusses flirting with a man. If it was meant to be taken that way, it fits with the idea that the speaker is actually a very sad woman, who hasn't really experienced love/someone who appreciates her without all the fake dating.
sestina: six words
9 years ago