In Judith Viorst's poem, "A Wedding Sonnet for the Next Generation," what does she mean when she writes “you are writing your own poem,” and how are the final two lines related that line and to the previous parts of the poem?
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In Judith Viorst's poem, "A Wedding Sonnet For the Next Generation," the line that reads "you are writing your own poem" can be taken two ways.
The first obvious meaning of this line, based upon what has come before in the poem, is that the bride (or groom or both) is writing her own vows, rather than borrowing from the poetry of classic poets such as Shakespeare, Yeats and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
However, figuratively, "writing your own poem" could also mean that the person that the poem is directed to is starting a life uniquely her (or his) own. Rather than following the path others have taken before her, this woman has the opportunity to not only write her own poem, but write her own life story. She can decide upon the dreams and desires she wants: not copy or mimic those of a long-dead poet, who lived in a world and time so unlike her own.
With this said—that the woman writing her "poem" is creating her own future in some fashion—the last two lines support this idea. The first six lines of the poem allude to three famous poems by three equally famous poets. Viorst's point throughout the poem has been to find a "sonnet" or poem that is not tied to the distant past; instead she advises—strongly encourages—the reader to make his or her own way in this new world. And in saying this, while she reminds the writer that the "poem" may not be as perfect or as "studied" as those constructed in the past by "professional" poets, there will be something of the "sublime"—"supreme" or "outstanding" in creating a new kind of vow, a new set of standards for happiness. And those standards, rather than raving over eternal beauty or fond remembrances from one's lover, will be...
Respect. Trust. Comfort. Home.
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