medfr11834.jpgArgument

Days that cannot bring you near
or will not,
Distance trying to appear
something more obstinate,
argue argue argue with me
endlessly
neither proving you less wanted nor less dear.

Distance: Remember all that land
beneath the plane;
that coastline
of dim beaches deep in sand
stretching indistinguishably
all the way,
all the way to where my reasons end?

Days: And thinkICZUD00Z.jpg
of all those cluttered instruments,
one to a fact,
canceling each other's experience;
how they were
like some hideous calendar
"Compliments of Never & Forever, Inc."

The intimidating sound
of these voices
we must separately find
can and shall be vanquished:545882.jpg
Days and Distance disarrayed again
and gone...


This poem, as in all of Elizabeth Bishop’s poems is self explanatory. This is about friends, or lovers perhaps, arguing over the distance between them; the distance which they cannot or will not close. “Distance trying to appear something more obstinate, argue argue argue with me endlessly.” They are arguing over the distance the refusal of each to come to the other. Feminists might say that this is a story about a woman who refuses to give in to the man who wants her to come to him. She is standing up for her rights to live her life as she see’s fit and not the way that someone else is trying to force on her. As per her usual, the imagery that Bishop uses is stunning, you can picture the plane, the coastline of dim beaches.