Talk: Settled Hearts

Talk: Settled Hearts

The Poem’s Concept

The common idea of settlement is satisfaction. The idea of a settling down, setting on someone, hearts settled is a final act that implies you’ve found what you’re looking and are happy enough to stop looking. The speaker of this poem has fallen in love, and that mutual love is indicative of the speaker’s settled heart. However, love is not the same as one’s heart, for while the speaker has promised love, the partner’s love has not. A mutual tie weakens, and slowly despair takes over.

This poem challenges the misconception of settled hearts. Often, we settle on the wrong things or mistakingly commit to something that won’t last. The inherent emotion associated with settlement is vile and misleading.

The poem itself has a quaint spin on it. The alliteration in the stanzas spell out another and create a meta-message. Observe:

Dearest ivory,

There’s a special sheen to your smile
And a suzy shimmer in your eyes,
S
Everything about everglades
Emulate our exciting ties
E

How tremendously I treasured you
In troves ton-and-teeming
T
But our tender thoughts thus
Traveled lost and leaning
T

As lepid loves lighten
Like unlasting loves oft’ do
L
Lieu, you left for elsewhere
And emptiness ensued
E

Estranged emotions dine
Daringly as deemed
For now depression dies
Only if it’s dreamed
D

SETTLED

-Hearts.
How they bleed after all.

The meta-message:
Settled

-Hearts.
How they bleed after all.

This also plays on the format of a letter. It’s almost as if the hearts are the ones signing the letter which contains a single word: settled. Perhaps it means the hearts have settled on (agreed) to despair; perhaps it means the hearts themselves are settled. In the end, however, in a sort of “PS” attachment, the hearts acknowledge that they’ll still bleed. Even the rhythmic meter of the poem slowly halts into a point–the first stanzas have 7-8 syllables a line; the final stanza before the closing has 5-6 syllables a line. All the stanzas in-between slowly lose syllables or sounds, paralleling the idea of how deluded love starts off strong but slowly breaks off into smaller, unfulfilling pieces come realization.

Poem Interpretation, Line by Line

Dearest ivory,
To the speaker’s dearest love, both beautifully prized and horribly taboo. Evokes the “forbidden love” feeling, but the love is not romantically banned. While Romeo and Juliet’s love is banned from a family rivalry and verbal warnings, ivory is explicitly illegal in many countries, making the relationship highly impersonal.

There’s a special sheen to your smile
“Your smile lights up the room”
And a suzy shimmer in your eyes,
A “suzy”, rosy, ruddy, warm sparkle in your eyes. When you meet someone, the first impression is often given by the eyes. The speaker finds himself not only entranced but also extremely welcomed by such inviting eyes.
Everything about everglades
The Everglades is swamp that is frequently shaped by flooding, drought, and fire. The area is rich with life despite the harsh conditions, but the life is not commonly enjoyed by many. No one plans a vacation to the swamp.
Emulate our exciting ties
In the same way there is always a lack or inundation of water in the Everglades, there is always a destabilizing ebb of the vitality in the speaker’s relationship. The abundance of life is his overexcitement when with her; the lack of life is the crash when he is not. Everglades are emulated–done better in every way–by the relationship. This metaphor between a swamp and his love is unnatural and almost incomparable, continuing the theme of ill-matched/illegal love. His “ties” are portrayed as exciting, hinting that the speaker does not yet know of the consequences of setting his heart on something so iffy. Because he believes the relationship is settled/wrapped/tied in a bow like a present, he will tie his own heart to the relationship.

How tremendously I treasured you
“How tremendously I treasured you”
In troves ton-and-teeming
Troves of treasure, a ton (a lot) of love/a ton (2000 pounds) of treasure, treasure teems with shine/sparkles BUT not all that glitters is gold.
But our tender thoughts thus
“But our thoughts of love for each other” The speaker specifically uses “our” instead of “your” or “mine”, as if there was relationship in the first place.
Traveled lost and leaning
“Thoughts of love were lost and leaning/awry/strange”

As lepid loves lighten
“As joyous loves lighten/lost weight/lose significance”
Like unlasting loves oft’ do
“Just like how loves that don’t last very long lose significance”
Lieu, you left for elsewhere
“Instead of settling like the I (the speaker) did, you left”
And emptiness all ensued
“And the totality and weight of emptiness/void/loneliness took your place”

Estranged emotions dine
Estranged emotions are emotions that were once loving but now cold. The use of “dine” is an alluded antithesis that juxtaposes the feeling of warmth and love (at the dinner table) with the coldness of estranged love. Plays into the theme of a settled heart–settled hearts are like settled homes, and yet, its hospitality treats only sadness.
Daringly as deemed
“Estranged emotions dare dine/dare make themselves at home my (the speaker’s) heart because they’ve been named/called upon by the emptiness”
For now depression dies
Depression is the strongest estranged emotion. It has made itself at home and is dining within the speaker’s settled heart. It thrives.
Only if it’s dreamed
“Depression will leave the heart only in the my (the speaker’s) dreams, either through dreaming of not being sad or dreaming of the lover”

-Hearts.
How they bleed after all.

 

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