Can I get a critical commentary on the poem "Advice to a Discarded Lover" by Fleur Adcock?

Expert Answers
Doug Stuva eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The central metaphor of the poem is a comparison between a dead then decaying corpse, and a "discarded" lover.  The lover is the tenor of the metaphor, and the corpse the vehicle by which the speaker reveals a more complex meaning for the lover. 

The speaker uses grotesque images of decay to demonstrate what the discarded lover is like for him in the poem's present:  dead bird, creeping stench, wriggling, munching scavengers, maggots close to the surface. 

In time, the lover will become as a skeleton, rather than a rotting corpse:  a shape of clean bone, an inoffensive symbol.

The speaker plays on the difference between a fresh corpse--the kind one calls the police about if it's human--and the kind you call an archaeologist about; one is repulsive, the other is scientifically interesting.  One is offensive, one is not. 

The second-person speaker speaks directly to the discarded lover in a harsh, sardonic tone.  The speaker is unforgiving, though he/she does suggest the detachment that time produces will make his view of the lover like a clean skeleton, rather than like a fresh, rotting corpse.