Analysis Of Wedding Ring

Submitted By lenadp
Words: 1042
Pages: 5

Reconciliation Commitments come in varying ranges of time and magnitude. They can range from the simple decision of which college course to commit to for a semester, to the more complex choice of which career path to pursue for a lifetime. Each commitment requires certain levels of perseverance as well as each hold certain consequences if the commitment fails. Approximately four years after a divorce, a poem was written to reflect the feelings held by our poet after noticing her wedding ring lying idle in a basket. In the poem “Wedding-Ring”, Denise Levertov uses the neglected symbol of her past marriage in order to capture the emotions of someone reconciling with the failure of one of the most serious commitments of their life. Levertov captures the tone of the first stanza in a negative light, describing her neglectedwedding ring and leaving her audience with the assurance that the divorce is final. She starts the poem with a simile comparing the basket which holds her wedding ring to that of the “bottom of a well” (Line 2). It is a very fitting opening which sets the mood in two different senses. The first illustrates that the ring is physically within reach but emotionally might as well be at the bottom of a dark well. A second interpretation could be the disparity of the poet herself being at the bottom of said well, trying to rise from the failure of her past marriage. Both set the tone of the poem by providing the reader with some insight of her unresolved issues. “Nothing will come to fish it back up / and onto my finger again,” (Lines 3-4) completes the first stanza further painting a picture of disparity and hopelessness, as “Nothing” (3) cements the fact that there is no hope for reconciliation of the relationship. In the second stanza, Levertov provides emphasis on the past meaningfulness and potential future usefulness of the ring. She explains that “it lies / among the keys to abandoned houses.” (Lines 5-6) The key word “lies” (Line 5) stands out in the stanza stating that it is now unused. The fact that the ring shares a resting place with the keys implies that there is an unwillingness to let go of similar everyday items of the past. It seems that the ring is not the only symbol of failed past commitments in the basket that she holds onto. The “nails waiting to be needed” (Line 7) provides an image of the potential usefulness that they hold through the word “waiting.” (Line 7) The line implies that the same potential usefulness can be found in the wedding ring as well. A metaphor can be found in line 9, “telephone numbers with no names attached” implying that the ring has also lost its correlation with its past owner as well. This line can add to the overall tone of the poem that the poet is now drifting through life unclaimed with unresolved issues. A metaphor is also found between the “idle paperclips” (Line 10) and the ring.
There are times that a wedding ring itself can have the power to desperately hold couples together during conflicts. It is only a short, superficial bond, similar to a paperclip holding documents together. While a relationship can be seen between the paperclips and wedding ring, currently they lie idle in the basket, completing the overall imagery in this stanza of like items awaiting a meaningful task. The third stanza presents the reader with the idea that there is no fitting route for the poet to rid herself of the ring. Levertov writes “It can’t be given away / for fear of bringing ill-luck.” (Lines 11-12) The word “given” (Line 11) tells the reader that the poet has considered this route yet the fear of gifting the ring in its current marital form has held her back. It may be that there truly is a degree of superstition she holds, but more than likely seeing the consistent reminder of the failed marriage on another’s finger is the true reason. Nor is