In this bleak poem, the speaker talks about marrying for the goal of feeling safe. Her spouse is unnamed and his personality or attractive qualities seem unimportant. He is first mentioned at the end of the first stanza merely as "somebody."
The first stanza suggests that who the speaker married was far less important than why she married. She begins by explaining her rationale for marrying: she seeks "warmth," she says, against the "world's black night." She goes on to explain that her bar for marriage was low: warmth does not even include the expectation of "repose" or rest. The phrase "at the close" is ambiguous, as is much of the poem, but one meaning is at the close of life or at the end of her rope she married for warmth or safety solely so she would not be alone in a dark, frightening world.
In the second stanza, the speaker has married. She describes her marriage using imagery that turns her shared domestic space into a restrictive, coffin-like enclosure. She and her husband hide in their home from "long range guns," possibly a reference to rocket bombs or nuclear weapons. The comforting domestic images of "cupboard" and "closet" become claustrophobic as she writes
We lay legin the cupboard, headin closet.
Unlock This Study Guide Now
Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.
- 30,000+ book summaries
- 20% study tools discount
- Ad-free content
- PDF downloads
- 300,000+ answers
- 5-star customer support