Summary (Magill's Survey of World Literature, Revised Edition)
“Confusion,” included in Akhmatova’s popular collection Chetki, captures the tone of the entire work, which focuses on the meetings and separations of lovers and former lovers. The poet describes the painful meeting as draining, yet necessary, because it provides closure for the relationship that has left her hanging on during “Ten years of cries and trepidation.” As she looks into her former lover’s face, she does not see in him the intense emotion that she feels. She sees only the “simple civility” reflected in his kiss of her hand. At the conclusion of the poem, her soul is both “empty and serene.”
The feeling of love’s being both painful and exhilarating permeates every line. Concrete imagery and physical descriptions represent the intense emotion felt by the poet. The lines “a mist clouds my eyes” and “with a kiss you brushed my hand” characterize these literary devices. This use of concrete imagery is common throughout most of her earlier works. Also representative of the poet’s craft is her dramatization of the moment. She sketches as if it were a painting in motion, the lyrical quality of her verse reflected in the lines: “And I can no longer fly,/ I who was winged from childhood.”
Further exemplified in the poem is the poet’s reliance on the narrative form to provide movement. In addition, the fluidity of the poem illustrates that confusion is as much a part of life as are love and loss....
(The entire section is 364 words.)
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