A Marriage Must Be Worked At

Newlyweds on the honeymoon trip,
they are trying to get
from one set of ruins to the next.
There were no double berths.
He took the top.
Now they are three feet apart.
Neither sleeping.

They are perfectly still,
hurtling over the landscape.

Michael Chitwood
Number 68
Fall 2005
A lot of times, a poem is ambiguous because it lacks narrative.  Here, we see an ambiguity from a narrative out of context.  We are told everything the couple does and where they are, but their feeling are opaque to us.  The title because extremely important, offering us a hint as to what this forced distance might mean.  Do they feel awkward, because they were having troubles anyway, and are forced to do what angry couples often do by choice (sleep apart)?

Their lack of motion against a moving landscape highlights a sense of wrongness, to me.  A poem can have a haiku-like efficiency and mystery without using the Japanese form.

3 Responses to “A Marriage Must Be Worked At”

  1. Leah says:

    I agree that the couple seems “opaque;” however, I do not think this poem lacks narrative. I think the title does alot of work to move the narrative along, so to speak. Also, the fact that they are moving works for me in that it seems as if their promblems will be worked out, as the title says “A Marriage Must be Worked At.”

  2. Jason says:

    I said, “Here, we see an ambiguity from a narrative out of context.” This was in contrast to poems that lack narrative.

  3. Leah says:

    Opps, sorry–I misread you! I totally agree…