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Thread: Difficulty interpreting the poem "Divorce" by Billy Collins

  1. #1
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    Jul 2015

    Difficulty interpreting the poem "Divorce" by Billy Collins

    Hello all,
    I am having a hard time trying to interpret the poem "divorce" by Billy Collins. The poem reads as follows:
    "Once, two spoons in bed,
    now tined forks.

    across a granite table
    and the knives they have hired"

    My first thought of the poem was it uses symbology to make a statement. Even though it is a short poem, it make a bold statement.
    The spoons symbolize the marriage. Like a spoon and it's user, the spouse is supportive, lifting the other up when in need and never allowing any part of their love to fall.
    The fork symbolizes the decline in the marriage. It doesn't really support anything because of the gaps between the "tines" it allows the love to fall away.
    The knife symbolizes the lawyers who are cold and bitter. Cutting away at what was once a loving and caring relationship.

    I am not sure I am looking at this the way I should. I could really need some help on how to interpret this. Thank you.

  2. #2
    King of Dreams MorpheusSandman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    The Heart of the Dreaming
    I think you interpreted it just fine. You might also consider the different ways in which spoons and forks handle food and the wordplay with spoons (look up "spooning"). "Across a granite table" reminds me of the famous scene in Citizen Kane where the estrangement of the marriage is represented by a series of cuts across the dinner table.
    "As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being." --Carl Gustav Jung

    "To absent friends, lost loves, old gods, and the season of mists; and may each and every one of us always give the devil his due." --Neil Gaiman; The Sandman Vol. 4: Season of Mists

    "I'm on my way, from misery to happiness today. Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh" --The Proclaimers

  3. #3
    A User, but Registered! tonywalt's Avatar
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    Mar 2011
    Cayman Palms, Cayman Islands, Cayman Islands
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    Brilliant Poem. One of my favourite Billy Collins poems.

  4. #4
    It's horrible. Just rancid. I guess that's the idea.
    Last edited by Afriendinneed; 08-22-2015 at 10:51 AM.

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