So, the opening salvo is a powerful one, and with it the speaker reveals herself to be smart, competent, and truly the mistress of this situation; in other words, the very opposite of the stereotypical demure, falsely reluctant woman barely seen in Andrew Marvel’s poem.
The message is dark, so what makes the poem so wickedly funny? One is its irreverence—how it deflates the power and importance of something sacred.
I hope you will take a look at the skillful manipulation it takes to work these repeating sentences into new formats with new ideas, and how challenging it can be to find repetends that make sense both on their own and also when finally linked in the last couplet. It’s a challenging form to do well, but many poets take comfort in knowing that once they’ve come up with those two repeating lines, their villanelle is nearly half finished.
This week’s poem is another affirming the value of human relationship and commitment.