What is the subject matter in the "Love poem"?There is no question of choice, but it takes a long time.   Love's vacancies, the eye & cavity, track back to embraces   where the spine...

What is the subject matter in the "Love poem"?

There is no question

of choice, but it takes

a long time.

 

Love's vacancies, the eye

& cavity, track

back to embraces

 

where the spine bends

& quietens

like smoke in the earth.

 

Your tongue, touching on song,

darkens all songs. Your touch

is almost a signature.

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In analyzing any poem and in attempting to find its subject matter, one has to ensure that a level of personal voice is evident. As with all art, poetry is not meant to be taken as dogmatic from what others see and passed off as what one actually does see.  For example, in Manhire's "Love Poem," I see the exploration of love as the primary focus of the poem.  The way in which this is done is a bit different than the traditional concept of a "love poem."  Certainty and absolutism have given way to images that are a bit mysterious and elusive, perhaps attempting to articulate a condition of love that is not often discussed.  Namely, the level of insecurity and doubt that often is a part of the experience of being in love.  Notice the idea of "darkens all songs" and the "smoke in the earth" images.  These are not often associated with the traditional concept of love and are certainly not present in the traditional rendering of "love poems."  Perhaps, this is deliberate on the poets part to explore a side that has not been explored that much on a topic that has been discussed to a great extent in literature and poetry.