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Poetry is one of the main ways to organize written speech that is directly related to art. The analysis of poetry should be focused on the rhyme, rhythm, meaning and value of artistic images, and the general idea expressed in the poetry. In this work the poem “Love Song: I and Thou” by Alan Dugan will be analyzed.

Analysis of “Love Song: I and Though” by Alan Dugan

Alan Dugan was one of the most significant American poets of the XX century. “Love Song: I and Thou” is from the collection “Poems Seven: New and Complete Poetry” (2001).

The Tone of the Poem

The tone of the poem in general can be defined as pathetic and desperate at the same time. It reflects the hesitations of the author, his speculations about his own life and uncover dissatisfaction of Alan Dugan with the way he lives it. This idea is obviously expressed in the lines 2 and 3: “the joists are shaky by nature”. These words, in particular, underline that the author lacks stability in his life. This idea finds its support in  the words from lines 3-5: “no piece fits any other piece without a gap or pinch”.

The Extended Metaphor in the Poem

The metaphor in the poem is “building a home” which actually means marriage and raising a family. The poem says, this house is shaky and nothing goes as it was initially planned.

Analysis of the Last Three Lines

In the last three lines of the poem the author says he needs help and support of his wife to create family home he dreamt about, which would symbolize stability and confidence in the future.

Metaphors in the Poem

In the lines 5-7 Dugan writes that “bent nails dance all over the surface like maggots”.. This metaphor is used to express the desperation caused by feeling guilty and incomplete.

Similes in the Poem

One of the most impressing similes in the poem can be found in the lines 7-8: “By Christ I am no carpenter”. This phrase is a synonym of the commonplace expression “I know, I am not perfect”. In this way, the author makes an attempt to recognize his imperfections.

The General Atmosphere of the Poem

This poem reflects the frustration of the author, so it is cacophonous. This is clearly expressed with the words “I planned it, I sawed it, I nailed it, and I will live in it until it kills me” from lines 24-26.

The Idea of the Poem

The general idea of the poem can be defined as life crush and disappointment. The expectations of the author about his life (in particular, about his family life) did not come true. Therefore, this ideal picture built by himself “kills him” by making him feel unable to change his life for better on his own.


“Love Song: I and Thou” is not a commonplace love poem. In this poem love is confronted by desperation and fatalism. Moreover, his wife, who seems to be the reason of this despair at the beginning, finally proves to be the only good thing in his life.

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