Yasmin Gunaratne’s This Language this Woman Summary and Analysis
This Language this Woman Poem
Beware how you insult her
in your ignorance accident of your birth
goaded by the jealous fury of your own girl
who still relents it seems that old flirtation
reproaching her forever with your dearth
you miss the loveliness of her
unfolding in perpetual renewal
of suppleness still her generosity.
If you should try to take her from me
I’d launch no thousand ships to bring her back
the braggadocio of the imperial theme
that shielded her being now a derelict wreck
I’d sail some paper boats that bear her name
as this one does, till you grant credit to
my confidence in a fidelity
greater than Helen’s she would not go ,
being truer than a mother, sister, wife,
dearer than life.
No more an Empress’s daughter , with a bribe
locked in her purse,
the clerks, the merchants, and their hireling tribe
long since dispersed,
gone the protectors who, while pampering her,
lined their own coffers
her men folk falter in a far country
their vigor ended,
she wanders here alone and unbefriended ,
herself at last, and nothing else to offer.
So do not call her slut, and alien,
names born of envy and your own misuse
that whisper now desire in secret runs .
She has known greatness, borne illustrious sons,
her mind’s well-stored her lovely nature’s rich,
filled with these splendid warm surprise which,
now the distorting old connection’ done
fit her to be your mistress, and my Muse.
Be careful about the way you insult her. You do not know that you cannot control your birth or decide your parents. You are provoked by the jealousy and anger towards your own fiancee. But she is still lenient with you. It seems that she is lamenting over her old love forever because of your missing. You do not see her loveliness which is open and is
renewing with no end because of her flexibility and kindness.
If you should try to take her from me, I would not try to bring her back. The prestigious behavior of the imperial touch that gave her protection is now becoming a wasted wreck. I would send you letters on her behalf in this situation till you win my confidence. She would not leave her faithful qualities which are greater than Helen’s being truer than a mother, sister, wife, dearer than life.
She is no longer an honorable lady if she has unfaithful qualities. The unfaithful, opportunist people were given up long ago. They who appeared as her protectors and who while pampering her, collected wealth are gone now. Those men are losing their energy in a distant country: they have no more strength. She is just wandering here all by herself
without friends. Now she has nothing else to give but her heart.
So do not call her an undisciplined woman, and an outsider. You call those names because of your jealousy and it is your misuse of words. What those words now mean is secret desires. She has been a great lady. She comes from respectable generations. She is rich in her mind and has a lovely nature. Now that her unsuitable old connections are over she is full of these excellent warm qualities. She is suitable to be your bride and she is my goddess.
The poet’s daughter and her broken marriage
Mutual understanding and trust are very important in married life.
Suspicion causes misery. Mother’s love does not change.
Appropriate words and phrases
accident of your birth
Comparison:greater than Helen’s
metaphor: paper boats Empress’s daughter my Muse
Language: simple and slightly metaphorical.
In ‘This language, this woman’, Yasmin Gunaratne blames her ex -son in Law for scolding her daughter with bad language. The girl seems to belong to a high society with much wealth and respect. It seems that she spent a luxurious and playboy life which caused the end of her marriage. But ultimately she is left alone. The poet shows the valuable part of her daughter and tries to convince her son in Law that she should be excused and reunited by him.
It is a confession on the one hand and a plea on the other hand. The subject- matter is a broken marriage and the theme is ‘A daughter is valuable to her mother whatever blame is put on her.’ Appropriate words and vivid descriptions are used in the poem. The language is the simple modern language.