Skip to main content

Many of Grimké's poems are love poems, through which run themes of isolation and poignant longing. In several pieces, the personals intense yearning is followed by rejection, or by death. Some of the poems express the personals desire to be contained within another person, even, in one poem, cupped permanently in the palm of a lover's hand. Frequently Grimké couches her subjects in images drawn from nature. Her depictions of nature's beauty are invariably sharpened by her awareness of its evanescence. These elements coalesce in several of the poems, such as in this excerpt from the first part of "A Mona Lisa": "I should like to poise/On the very brink/Of the leaf-brown pools/That are your shadowed eyes;/l should like to cleave/Without sound,/The glimmering waters,/Their unrippled waters,/l should like to sink down/And down/And down .... /And deeply drown." The highly visual imagery makes the lines intensely sensual. It is typical of Grimké, also, that she depicts no consummation of the imagined relationship, unless death itself be considered a satisfaction.