To be in love
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To be in love. Gwendolyn Brooks Brooks was one of the earliest female African American writers to be published. A university teacher, she wrote a number of novels and collections of poetry. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1949 for Annie Allen. To be in love. To be in love

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To be in love

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To be in love

To be in love

Gwendolyn Brooks

Brooks was one of the earliest female African American writers to be published. A university teacher, she wrote a number of novels and collections of poetry. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1949 for Annie Allen


To be in love1

To be in love

To be in love

Is to touch things with a lighter hand

In yourself you stretch, you are well.

You look at things

Through his eyes


To be in love

A Cardinal is red

A sky is blue

Suddenly you know he knows too

He is not there but

You know you are tasting together

The winter, or light spring weather

His hand to take your hand is overmuch

Too much to bear


To be in love

His hand to take your hand is overmuch

Too much to bear

You cannot look in his eyes

Because your pulse must not say

What must not be said

When he

Shuts a door-

Is not there –

Your arms are water.


To be in love

And you are free

With a ghastly freedom

You are the beautiful half

Of a golden hurt

You remember and covet his mouth

To touch, to whisper on

Oh when to declare

Is certain Death!


To be in love

Oh when to apprize

Is to mesmerize

To see fall down, The Column of Gold,

Into the commonest ash


To be in love

To be in love

Is to touch things with a lighter hand

When you are in love you touch things with a lighter hand.

To touch things with a lighter hand could mean that you are more relaxed, less serious, more gentle.


To be in love

In yourself you stretch, you are well.

When you are in love you stretch. This is a metaphor. You don’t stretch physically but figuratively. You don’t just focus on your own desires. You accommodate somebody else’s feelings and ideas. You become less selfish. You grow because you learn more about someone else.

You are well. You experience a general feeling of happiness.


To be in love

You look at things

Through his eyes.

The way you look at things in life changes. You begin to see things through the eyes of the one you love. Through his eyes is a figurative expression. You don’t literally see things through the eyes of the one you love, you look at things and then think what he would think about the thing that you see. He also gives you his perception.


To be in love

A Cardinal is red

The poet gives you examples of what you can see. You can see a Cardinal. A Cardinal is a bird in North America, it is named a cardinal because its colour is the same as the robe of a Cardinal in the Roman Catholic church: red.

You know this bird is red but because you are in love the colours seem new to you.


To be in love

A sky is blue

The poet now also says A sky is blue. The poet uses “a” instead of “the”. With the “a”, the poet seems to say that not all skies are blue. Through the eyes of one who is in love, the sky may appear more blue. Note that one always refer to “The” sky.


To be in love

Suddenly you know he knows too.

The relationship is developing. The poet says that you will suddenly know that he knows that you are in love with him. A couple will know suddenly that they both like each other.


To be in love

He is not there but

You know you are tasting together

The winter, or light spring weather

You know that even though the one you love is not with you, you experience the same things in the same way. You are tasting together: The water you taste will taste like the water he tastes. Figuratively you are experiencing things together. You and he will experience winter and spring the same way. You will experience the same seasons although you are not together. This also means you will always think of him.


To be in love

His hand to take your hand is overmuch

Too much to bear.

When he touches your hand it is too much because you are in love. The poet uses the word overmuch. She says touching her loved one’s hand is too much. The emotional feelings created by the touch are too much to cope with.


To be in love

You cannot look in his eyes

Because your pulse must not say

What must not be said

The physical excitement is too much. When he touches your hand you cannot look in his eyes. Touching his hand makes your pulse race. You do not want to look in his eyes because your eyes may not say what MUST not be said. You can not say I love you, too early in a relationship. You can not allow your physical response to his touch to betray your feelings to him.

I love you


To be in love

When he

Shuts a door –

Is not there –

Your arms are water.

Shuts a door – refers to the partner leaving

He is not in the presence of the other person.

If you are not in the presence of the other person: your arms are water

Metaphor: Your arms become like water. Useless, unable to do anything, weak.


To be in love

And you are free

With a ghastly freedom

You may experience freedom because your partner left but it is a ghastly freedom.

Ghastly: horrifying, shocking, upsetting.

This freedom comes to you with a shock. You don’t want to be free like this.

This is an example of a paradox: contrast between ghastly and freedom.


To be in love

You are the beautiful half

Of a golden hurt

You are stil beautiful but you are only a half. When you were with your loved one you were two beautiful people that formed a whole, now you are only half.

Golden hurt: This is a metaphor. Love is compared with gold. Gold is one of the purest metals found. The hurt is called golden because you have been hurt in love relationship. Being in love is as precious as gold.


To be in love

You remember and covet his mouth,

To touch, to whisper on it

Being apart, you remember your physical closeness. You miss it. You covet his mouth.

Covet: want to have something very much.

It is also the word used for desire in the Ten Commandments which could mean that you desire your loved one so much it edges on sin.

You want to touch his lips and whisper things to him.


To be in love

Oh when to declare

Is certain Death!

The poet says to declare your love is certain death. Not literally the death of a person but figuratively the death or end of the relationship.

I love you


To be in love

Oh when to apprize

Is to mesmerize

To apprize: means to inform.

You must inform the person you love at exactly the right moment or you could spoil the relationship.

Mesmerize: to fascinate someone or absorb all of his attention.

When you inform a person that you love him you will get all the attention of that person. That person will be mesmerized by what you have said.


To be in love

To see fall down, The Column of Gold,

Into the commonest ash.

When you declare that love, the Column of Gold is destroyed.

The Column of Gold refers to the feeling of being in love.

The moment you declare your love the relationship becomes something common.

The gold is turned into ash, common ash.

It becomes nothing.


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