“Poem of the End,” composed in 1924, is a poetic sequence of fourteen lyrics describing the end of an affair between the poet, Marina Tsvetayeva, and her lover Konstantin Rodzevitch. Although the poem is autobiographical, it is not necessary to know much about the relationship to understand the poem, which is universal in the intensity of its emotion. As the lovers meet, walk along a river, and pass places they once frequented, the poet struggles with her lover’s decision to break off the relationship, and the structure of the poem reflects this struggle. Much of the poem is written in first person, and the “I” functions as referent to both the poet and the persona. It is often difficult to tell who is speaking, the poet or her lover, indicating that the parting is difficult for both; the two are still very much in love, but the lover is driven away by the intensity of the poet. The ambiguity of the speaker’s voice, however, also suggests that their conversations may be imagined or remembered.
In the opening lyric, the lovers meet, and the poet becomes suspicious of her lover’s demeanor, the “menace at the edges of his/ eyes.” When the lover suggests going to a movie, the poet insists on going home, but, in the second poem, “home” turns into “houses/ collapsing in the one word: home,” and the lover’s house on the hill appears to burst into flame as the poet finds her love self-destructing. The third lyric provides a contrast in...
(The entire section is 565 words.)