By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept
narrator is outsider in constellation
focus is on the wife, rather than the husband
references to MacBeth show her conflicted desire to be a good host and remove the wife from the constellation
emotions of jealousy, envy, desire, guilt
constellation is still a threesome, but with wife as grieving outsider
struggle with her own self-interested desire and her compassion for another
anger at wife’s martyrdom that prevents narrator from enjoying her love
interestingly puts herself, rather than the husband as the centre of the wife’s pain
gives herself a lot of importance
“I have broken her heart like a robin’s egg” (35).
narrator finds sense of self-worth (40), completion (41), meaning (41) which previously eluded her.
where she felt an outsider to life, love and acceptance, she now feels “fusion” (39), ‘miracle” (40), “flood of love” (39), “all time is now” (41)
“But I have become a part of the earth: I am one of its waves flooding and leaping. I am the same tune now as the trees,hummingbirds, sky, fruits, vegetables in rows. I am all or any of these” (42).
“warm and comfortable as the womb” (43)
foreshadowing “love is as strong as death” (44)
juxtaposition of “The Song of Solomon” (private, erotic, passionate, ‘l’amour et d’eau fraîche’) versus officials (legal discourse, morality, the prosaic, cynicism)
return of the prodigal
references to Absalom (progeny of David’s dalliance with another man’s wife, murder of husband. death of Absalom)
the passion begins to slip away
casts herself as accused in father’s criminal trial
endures criticism of beloved (no job, avoids the war)
social censure, sees herself as misunderstood
public war vs. private love
who is “you”?
suspicion of lover
betrayal, rejection, loss of identity (80), “without a polestar” (84), “despair” (85), will he return?
ref. to “Wolfram’s Dirge”
spring touches nature, but eludes her
“coma,” “dead eye”, “blank days” (93)
ref. to MacBeth (“tomorrow and tomorrow….)
comparison to Dido (committed suicide when lover abandoned her) (94) and Christ’s wandering and temptation in the desert (98)
ends in Grand Central Station,
ref to Psalms 137 (exodus from the promised land; captivity in foreign country)
river of love from Part 3 is now “the swollen river of my undamned grief” (104)
“All my polestars have become falling stars” (107)
imagines he is in equal pain, hopes he is in pain