Sunday, August 26, 2012

Spring Arousal - The Gateway: A D Hope

The Gateway

Now the heart sings with all its thousand voices
To hear this city of cells, my body sing.
The tree through the stiff clay at long last forces
Its thin strong roots and taps the secret spring.

And the sweet waters without intermission
Climb to the tips of its green tenement;
The breasts have borne the grace of their possession,
The lips have felt the pressure of content.

Here I come home: in this expected country
They know my name and speak it with delight.
I am the dream and you my gates of entry,
The means by which I waken into light.

A D Hope

This poem was taken from a book of love poems. The above describes the physical act from the male perspective. Do you think a tree is an appropriate metaphor? At a meeting half the audience thought it erotic (mainly the female component), half not. It is certainly very sexual – perhaps an over glorification.

Compare this poem to Judith Wright's Woman to Man … a poem written from the female perspective, from the other side so to speak.

Tenement = a room, or set of rooms, forming a separate residence in a block of flats
Erotic ... tending to arouse sexual desire or excitement.

Spring is about to happen in Canberra so look out for those green tips!


  1. I wonder if you can explain the last two lines of the second stanza. - I've been discussing the poem with a friend who thinks that at this point the perspective changes to the female. I think to be consistent with the first line, and the rest of the poem, the perspective is still the male perspective, but I really don't understand the line "The breasts have borne the grace of their possession" . I'm being very literal, but I wonder if you can explain it in simple terms?

  2. My interpretation …

    The breasts have borne the grace of their possession,
    The lips have felt the pressure of content

    The male physical act is an act of possession … hopefully viewed as gracious … a gift or favour given by the woman … so I originally viewed ‘breasts’ as the male body … there is double association in ‘lips’

    However, I can understand how you could view this line as a male reflection on the female body together with the second line … but as you say that would make it somewhat contrary to the male flow of the poem in the other lines.

    Thanks for your comment.

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