Timothy Steele’s “An Aubade” uses and renews an ancient poetic form, the aubade. In a traditional aubade, the dawn comes to announce the separation of two lovers. In Steele’s poem, the lovers are already separated in the first stanza: She is in the shower and he is waking in the bed. In addition, there is no dawn announced or described in this stanza; there is, however, the “shine of earrings on the bedside stand.” There is also a light that comes from a “yellow sheet” covering him like a false dawn. Its “folds” are metaphorically described as a painting “from some fine old master’s hand.”
The lovers are brought more closely together in the second stanza, although they are not united. He embraces the “pillow” that “Retains the salty sweetness of her skin.” The image is an interesting mixture of tastes, and it connects the lovers through imagery and memory although they are still physically separated. From this image, he can “sense her smooth back, buttocks, belly, waist.” One image of her body triggers other images that bring her closer to him. In addition, he retains the memory of their lovemaking and her “leggy warmth” which “laced/ Around my legs and loins, and drew me in.”
The lovers are connected by a sound image in the third stanza as he hears her “Singing among the water’s hiss and race.” Then the dawn comes, as “early light” reveals a scene of “perfume bottles” and a “silver...
(The entire section is 467 words.)