The Ache of Marriage by Denise Levertov

Summary: The Ache of Marriage by Denise Levertov is a poem about the deep feelings of emotion as an ache in a marriage with the speaker's "beloved"


Speaker - talks to beloved about "the ache of marriage"

Verse 1:

  • Speaker introduces the theme of the poem which is "the ache of marriage"

Verse 2:

  • Speaker relates how "the ache of marriage" relates to certain parts of the body
  • "Throbs in the teeth" means that you can relate it the throbbing of a toothache, a cavity
  • Speaker talks about the tongue being heavy with it; refers to the words that come from the mouth can hurt or ache when in reference to marriage
  • The ache of the thigh may refer to the ache one might get as from a marathon, a marriage can be construed as a marathon
  • It is written that the speaker talks to her "beloved"

Verse 3:

  • In marriage one wants to share feelings and thoughts with their "beloved" but sometimes it's not possible and those that are married become individuals
  • It is written that the speaker talks to her "beloved" the speaker talks to her "beloved"

Verse 4:

  • The speaker sees marriage as a giant serpent that has eaten those who are married and deep from within the bowels of the monster they would not know joy even if they look for it; joy is on the outside

Verse 5:

  • Each couple if married will experience "the ache of marriage"

Other Notes:

  • The speaker talks to the "beloved" throughout the poem quite possibly to ask help to fix things that make the marriage "ache"
  • This poem was written in 1964 and still may apply today and seems timeless
  • This poem touches upon a common theme, pain in love

© 2009 copyright The Ache of Marriage | Denise Levertov