There were words,
with the changing of the magnets
in the dim lights,
with 4 and 10,
on the (intentional) accident
and not one,
like local news
and the grain,
against the grain,
shattering on the ground
in solitary confinement,
and battles rage,
and magnets change,
and battles rage
the lions roar,
but a cage is built
the hurricane blows,
but the building stands
the grain is changed,
and bread is eaten
and magnets change,
among it all.
then a question,
a magnifying glass,
the words of others,
the lawyers stand,
a speech is given,
but by the sea,
it is unknown.
The magnets change,
and the magnets change,
and then a door,
This poem is about a husband and wife. It is about the husband’s negative treatment of his wife and how that and their relationship progresses with time. The poem is divided into four sections.
The first section describes the husband’s mistreatment of his wife. He is verbally abusive (There were words, and words) and this has been something that has gone on for some time (with the changing of the magnets – magnets refers to refrigerator calendar magnets, the changing of which signifies the progression of time).
In addition to this constancy, there have also been a number of negative incidents. An example is given in the second stanza.
The stanza describes a party after a wedding (far off, in the dim lights, with 4 and 10 – far off means they traveled, in the dim lights signifies the party, and with 4 and 10 represents that a DJ is there (D is the fourth letter of the alphabet and J is the tenth)).
At the party, the husband has an incident where he embarrasses and mistreats his wife. It is an awkward noticeable moment (the spotlight, on the (intentional) accident). The husband’s behavior is like a car accident in that people at the wedding can’t help but notice, but it is intentional behavior, which is unlike an accident.
This isn’t the only incident like this the husband has had. His behavior has been this way over and over. It is like the mention of accidents on the local news (and not one, but many, like local news).
In addition to all this, the husband drinks (and the grain – grain signifying alcohol). His drinking negatively affects his behavior (against the grain) and like a bottle shattering on the ground it leads to negative bursts in his behavior.
All of these things continue (and words, and accidents, and grains) until finally his wife leaves him (alone).
The next section starts after the But.
When the man is alone (in solitary confinement) he begins to feel his conscience (silence whispers). This starts an internal struggle within himself (and battles rage) that is unseen by others.
This struggle takes time (and magnets change, and battles rage), but eventually the man repents.
He learns to control what he says (the lions roar, but a cage is built), he stops having outburst in public (the hurricane blows, but the building stands) and he stops drinking (the grain is changed, and bread is eaten).
As time changes (and the magnets change) so does the man (among it all).
The next section starts after the And.
The wife learns of her husband’s change (a learning). She questions its reality (then a question). She examines his behavior (a magnifying glass, held up) and questions her feelings (and down – as in she is looking down through the magnifying glass at herself).
The friends and family of the woman speak to her about the situation (the words of others). They speak against the man and the sincerity of his change (the lawyers stand). They give what amounts to a collective speech against him (a speech is given). The woman though is unsure of herself and what she should do (but by the sea, it is unknown).
The poem ends with ambiguity. In the last section of the poem, time has passed (The magnets change, and the magnets change). The man checks in different ways to see if his wife will come back to him (and then a door, does open). The poem though, ends with just the door opening. It doesn’t say if the wife is on the other side when it does.
P. S. If you like explained poems, please consider purchasing a copy of M. Sakran’s self-published eBook, Understanding: poems with explanations.