The Poem

(Critical Guide to Poetry for Students)

“Corona” is a short lyric poem about the difficulty of loving, honestly and truly, for two people who have experienced the catastrophes of World War II and the Holocaust. The memory of disaster and the busy pressure of the time period immediately after the war affect the private life of the two lovers and shape the tone of this love poem.

A corona is a halo or a ring of bright light around the object that obscures or blocks a source of light in an event such as an eclipse. In this poem, love is in eclipse, but the corona of light remaining for the lovers is a source of hope in an eerie darkness. An eclipse provides a chance to learn about the sun and the body that obscures it, and “Corona” provides an opportunity to reconsider the nature of love and to learn much about the couple and their dark world. A corona is also a crown, and the poet offers this poem, with its bright ring of light, as a crown to his beloved in praise of their love.

The poem’s eighteen lines fall into three groups of six lines. The opening, arranged in two three-line stanzas, establishes that it is autumn, a season in which one is reminded of mortality, and a Sunday, when the lovers are able to sleep longer and to spend time together. The next six lines form the center of the poem. The couple speak “dark words” while together during an intimate time that they have freed for love.

The final six lines step back from the intimacy of the central...

(The entire section is 525 words.)