The wedding ring

In the poem Wedding Ring, Denise Levertov starts by saying “My wedding ring lies in a basket as if at the bottom of a well. Nothing will come to fish it back up and onto my finger again”. Right away she starts us off lonely, the bottom of a well is a dark and hopeless place, this first line sets the mood for the entire poem. “It lies like keys to abandoned houses and nails waiting to be needed and hammered into some wall, telephone numbers with no names attached, idle paperclips.” The line break directly after the word lies shows us that maybe the word has an alternate meaning, if taken in context, it clearly means that it is physically laying down, however, the line break shows us that the word can betaken to mean deceit. A wedding ring is the symbol of a promise and without that promise a wedding ring has only material worth. “Telephone numbers with no names attached” brought me to the thought of adultery, which could certainly be a broken promise. “It cant be given away for fear of bringing ill luck. It cant be sold for the marriage was good in its own time, though that time is gone. I thought that maybe she was afraid of giving the ring away because it might somehow pass whatever curse it was to her on to someone else. “could some artificer beat it into bright stones, transform it into a dazzling circlet no one could take for solemn betrothal or to make promises living will not let them keep? Change it into a simple gift I could give in friendship?” When she says “make promises living will not let them keep” it again makes me think of adultery, till’ death do us part is a promise that is in effect until one in the couple dies, and living couldn’t let them keep this promise. She also says she wants to change the ring, lessen the value until it is so common that it can be given in friendship, outside of holy matrimony. …

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