Michael Harper’s Discovery
Michael Harper’s poem, Discovery is a poem of love. It gives us a unique way of defining and realizing true love. Indeed the poem is narrative and has free verse – and it expresses an occasion where the narrator discovers the care which the other person, a female shows toward him/her- such is the significance of the title, Discovery.
Yet love although universally defined as the “feeling of warmth and concern for other persons” must be qualified here. My reading of the poem suggests that it is a romantic kind of love that is expressed between two individuals; a male (the narrator) and a female (the narrator’s partner in the poem).
Truly, the degree of love revealed in the poem is overwhelming which caused the narrator to ask why I in the fifth line. The ellipses used after that emphasizes on possible uncertainties, thoughts that the narrator pondered upon while in her cradle of affection. This being the case, the sentiment of enigma is pictured probably due to the relative bewilderment of the narrator to the beauty that is being showed by the woman despite the narrator’s imperfections. The setting is night time on bed (they laid together in the dark); the two are close to each other (the narrator could hear her breath); as presented by lines one and two.
It is quite possible for lovers to sleep together and engage in an act like sex. Harper has thought of convincing the readers of the reality of the narrator’s emotion by attending to the facts, by way of description, that are happening while the narrator is sleeping. Just like love, it may or may not be seen, only felt. When love is true, the person does not wish for it to be recognized nor expect returns from act of pretense. Such is the beauty of love in the poem; it has been measured by the warmth of the light (bulb) – as it is common to metaphorically describe love through the sensations of warmth.
The eyes have always been the window of our inner passion; and touch and kiss signify intimacy. The author rightly used the line; she was staring at me with her eyes, to demonstrate the act of looking over a loved one in the coldness of the night; and the line a little shaken as she stroked my skin and kissed nay brow, to literally project sweetness. Although the challenging night’s condition was not directly written in the poem, it is implied especially when line number eight says, her thigh warming mine.
The line, her breasts still sturdy could be a depiction of an aged woman who despite the fading strength in the context of age and experience has shown vitality or could also mean a period of arousal which is demonstrated as a prelude to a more intimate encounter by a woman. The poem reveals more of the scene that takes place after their love making. People of today has a general belief that “sex” no longer possesses the same sanctity as before – that the act could be done with or without love.
The poem defies the latter by showing that it is most enjoyable when at the end of the act it self, love and joy is felt. The line in the poem tells us that the lover aimed at analyzing his/her partner in the silence of the night while sleeping and unveils sincerity through simple acts of kissing the brows. The agenda of the poem is to make us understand why love remains a feeling that we have to discover. Other ways become tools for this detection; like the light turned on and the heat which would reveal how long the woman had looked and cared for the narrator.
It is hot, burning hot meaning deep and true. The narrator discovers true love here which treats sex secondary only to the feeling of closeness, sincerity and care which are all metaphorically disclosed in the poem. It serves as a lesson for all of us on the virtue of love and the significance of sex. True love can sustain itself without sex, although as an expression of love, sex regains its necessity. The beauty of love making lies on the feeling of security after the act which the narrator felt in the end of the poem – security from threats of lies, infidelity and uncertainties.