The poem "To Speak of Woe That Is in Marriage" seems to give readers the image between the couples who are quarrelling with each other. The speaker seems to be the wife, and she is the one who tells the readers about her terrible marriage.
The first line of this poem tells the readers of the time and the setting in the poem. It is a hot night and the bedroom window is open. I think the adjective "hot" does not only imply the temperature of the night but also reveal that the condition and the atmosphere in the house is very "hot"--the couples are having a furious domestic quarrel.
In the second line of the poem, we seem to be brought to another world. We can see the blossoms of the magnolia. It is the image seemed to be rather quiet, and I think it is the contrast to the bitter quarrel in the house. The sentence: "Life begins to happen" suggests that it is the life of the poor wife and this terrible part of her life is just beginning.
Then we can see the husband jumping up and stopping the dispute between his wife and him. He dashes out of the house, and the wife thinks that he is going to "cruise for prostitutes" and he is "free-lancing out along the razor's edge." The edge of a razor is sharp; it points out the husband's anger and desire that seem to be dangerous to her and the marriage.
In the sixth line, the speaker starts to describe her husband. By reading the words such as "kill" and "lust," we can realize that the husband is quite irrational and rude. By crying out, "It's the injustice¡Khe is so unjust--" the wife can not help but to express her sadness in the marriage. I think the pause between the two sentences--"It's the injustice" and "he is so unjust'--tries to describe the wife's helplessness. She can't do anything but to lament and condemn her husband.
In the next line, we can see what happens after the husband coming back home. He is totally drunk, and at this moment, the speaker must try to "keep alive." It makes me think of the family abuse. It is likely that the husband often gets drunk and comes back home in the morning and beats the wife. This kind of thing happens so often that the wife has no idea of why her husband will behave in such a way. She can do nothing but to hide the money (maybe she tries to keep the money for healing herself from the abuse) and the car key (not letting her husband drive the car and look for other women) to her thigh. And then we have the second pause. I think at this time, the speaker is so sad that it seems that she cannot say any thing more. The pause makes the readers realize the sorrow of the wife is endless.
At the end, the speaker concludes that the husband is just like the elephant -- a great burden in her life. She is badly wounded by her husband but she cannot move away.
This poem is just like the documentary film that honestly describes the unhappy marriage in detail. It reveals not only woe of the wife but also the abuse from the husband. This poem, without using any hard word and abstract image, realistically depicts some wives' life in the society. In addition, I discover this poem is almost perfectly rhymed. Perhaps it is because of the simple words and the rhyme that I can read this poem smoothly. Under the smooth structure of the poem (e.g. the rhyme and common words), the readers can also realize the speaker's pain between the lines. I wonder if this suggests that there are a lot of couples like these two in the poem in our society, and that is why there are so many broken marriages?