“Once Again I Prove the Theory of Relativity” begins with the speaker imagining the return of someone she obviously loves deeply. Addressing the absent lover directly, she imagines how she would act toward him if he returned. First, she would treat him like a valuable work of art, such as a piece by Matisse that had been considered lost. Henri Matisse was a French painter and sculptor who lived from 1869 to 1954. The speaker would also honor her returning lover by seating him on a couch like a pasha. A pasha was a Turkish title of rank or honor, placed after a person’s name. The speaker then says she would dance a Sevillana, which is a dance from Seville, Spain that can be performed by a single female dancer. She would also leap around like a Taiwanese diva. Diva literally means goddess, and the term is often applied to female vocal stars in pop and opera. Taiwan has a number of young, female pop stars who are often called divas. They are known for their energetic and athletic performances on stage.
Next, the speaker says she would bang cymbals like in a Chinese opera. Chinese opera makes frequent use of percussion instruments. The persona of the poem would also “roar like a Fellini soundtrack.” Federico Fellini (1920–1993) was an Italian film director, famous for innovative films such as La strada, La dolce vita, and Otto e mezzo (8-1/2). Nino Rota wrote the music for Fellini’s films, which contribute greatly to their impact. The two men had a long collaboration, which ended only with Rota’s death in 1979. The poem’s speaker says she would also laugh like the little dog in the nursery rhyme that watched the cow jump over the moon.
The speaker continues to address her absent lover. If he were to return, she would be a clown and tell funny stories. She would paint clouds on the walls of her home—an image that presumably expresses her desire to show artistic creativity. She would put the best linen on the bed for him and observe him while he sleeps. During this...
(The entire section is 835 words.)