Posted: June 16th, 2021
Introduction To Poetry October 21, 2013 A relationship between two lovers is a bond that when broken, can be hard to get over. It’s hard to undo feelings for someone whom youVe built so much trust and compassion with. It takes a strong person to forgive someone who has stopped loving you when you still love him or her. And even then, it takes a stronger person to see that ex-lover and be able to talk to them in a civil and friendly manner. Women tend to find it harder to do this than men due to the feelings and trust that they put into men, who are already viewed as Jerks that only care about them.
Carolyn Kizer, author of “Bitch,” is Just like those women and shows anger toward her ex-lover. She shows her maturity and strength and doesn’t allow him to spark a reaction that shows she wants him back. This is the first time that Kizer is meeting with her old lover in some time. It is clear that it has been a while because she says, ‘after all these years” (1). As the conversation continues, we see more reasons that it has been a number of years since they have seen each other.
She starts off the greeting with a simple hello and then asks, “How are the children? They must be growing up” (9). This shows that they have been broken up long enough for him to have more than one child. Also, she says, “they must be growing up” (9), so they must be getting big and are more than a few years old. Another sign they haven’t seen each other in a while is when she says, “It’s nice to know you are doing so well” (28). This is something someone would only say if they haven’t seen or heard from someone in some time, but is happy to have seen them.
Kizer also knows he isn’t hurting her anymore so there’s no reason to be hostile toward him, but the bitch inside her doesn’t feel the same way. The bitch inside her wants to call him out and yell at him because of the pain that he put her through, but she tries to quiet that bitch and says, “don’t start growling” (2). While still fighting the bitch inside her, she says, “nice to see you” (5), as the bitch begins to “bark hysterically’ (6). The barking is her inner anger building, but she continues to fght it, asking herself “where are your manners” (8).
She doesn’t want the inner bitch to ruin a friendly conversation between her and her old companion. He says something nice to her after she asks about the children and she sees a familiar situation. Finally she has broken the anger barrier and her inner bitch “begins to whimper” (11) and Just wants to snuggle up with the man she used to love so much. “He isn’t an enemy now’ (7) realizes the bitch. There’s no reason for her to live in the past and make herself feel worse anymore. They have both moved on, but she has to keep the bitch away from him saying “down, girl!
Keep your distance” (13) or she’ll have to punish her for trying to bring old feelings back to life. As “she slobbers and grovels,” (16) she subsides and takes control of her “basically loyal” (17) self. Obviously her self is supposed to be loyal to her. As her inner self tarts to sit on the sideline during the conversation, she begins to reminisce. She remembers how she would run toward his comfort whenever “she heard his step” (19). When he was too busy for her loving devotion, he would send “her to the c en” (22).
Kizer didn’t get the tull attection that sne wanted, and yet it was the “small careless kindnesses” (24) that she adored so much. The good days that he had or if he had a few drinks are the days that were more important to her than “the casual cruelties” (27). She enjoyed the times when they were nice to each other and cared for each other, although they seemed to be short in number. It’s nice to know you are doing so well” (28), shows that she still cared for him like anyone would care for a friend.
Kizer tells the bitch “he couldn’t have taken you with him” (29), because he cared too much and was “too clumsy’ (30) unlike his new wife and kids. She was too attached to him and was clingy, but now in his new life he has a wife and kids that love him but give him his space when he needs it. He has a new life where he is comfortable, happy and shares it with the ones he loves. As those few minutes of catching up comes to an end, she asks him to “Give [her} regards to [his] wife” (32). They begin to part as they say their goodbyes.
Trying not to trip up and release any emotion, Kizer ends their conversation with “Nice to have seen you again” (34). It is tough for someone to tell an ex-lover to say hello, or give his or her regards to their wife. No one wants to see someone they used to love and share a life together with enjoying life with someone else. But not all relationships are meant to last. A true relationship will come in time, so it is better not to dwell on what could have been and look forward to what could be. So, Kizer’s poem shows how we should be able to turn an old, close partner to a friend.
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