Can you please explain and analyse this poem by Dennis Scott for me?He never learned her, quite. Year after year That territory, without seasons, shifted under his eye. An hour he could be lost in...

Can you please explain and analyse this poem by Dennis Scott for me?

He never learned her, quite. Year after year
That territory, without seasons, shifted
under his eye. An hour he could be lost
in the walled anger of her quarried hurt
on turning, see cool water laughing where
the day before there were stones in her voice.
He charted. She made wilderness again.
Roads disappeared. The map was never true.
Wind brought him rain sometimes, tasting of sea -
and suddenly she would change the shape of shores
faultlessly calm. All, all was each day new;
the shadows of her love shortened or grew
like trees seen from an unexpected hill,
new country at each jaunty helpless journey.
So he accepted that geography, constantly strange.
Wondered. Stayed home increasingly to find
his way among the landscapes of her mind.

Expert Answers
lynnebh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I believe this poem is a metaphor for a woman. The speaker compares the woman, perhaps his wife or lover, to the land. There are many geographical and topographical images. She is like land that he cannot really ever understand (year after year, that “territory”). The “territory without seasons” may be her moods that changed (shifted, like a land mass shifting), right under his eyes. When he did something to hurt her, her anger would be “walled up” like a “quarry”. She may have given him the silent treatment. And then, her mood would change, and she would be like “cool water” laughing when not too long ago, she would have been brooding (stones in her voice). He tried to figure her out (charted her, like with a map, trying to figure out the “territory”), and then, her moods changing, she became “wilderness” again. Throughout their time together, he is always trying to figure her out.

This should get you started. See if you can go through the rest of the poem and figure out the additional images.