THE COMPANY OF LOVERS: JUDITH WRIGHT
Judith Wright’s 1946 poem “The Company of Lovers” makes a juxtaposition of two essential forces of major impact upon human existence, the effects of love and those of death. Within the poem it can be noted that the two stanzas reflect each of the certain themes. The first, a universal description of love and the ambitions two lovers might have, whilst the second a reflection of how quick all may soon be lost through the loneliness of death.
Wright is renown for her use language, and many of her poems contain paradoxes in which the reader is confronted with a phrase completely unrealisable, but effective in portraying the nature of the poem. “The Company Of Lovers” itself opens with the use of a paradox “We meet and part now” instils an image of simultaneous unity and depart, evoking in a sense of temporary cohesion that may soon be lost. This may represent a changing nature of lovers’ and perhaps such a quick meeting and farewell represents the promiscuous nature of some who class themselves as lovers.’
Nonetheless, a different approach is taken as the first stanza introduces the lost company’ which could quite well represent lost ideals or values that once offered what was a company of lovers, which has now become short-term relationships. This emphasis goes on to describe, with passion, the joining of hands together in the night’ of those “who sought many things, throw all away for this one thing, one only” – love.
Such descriptions change, however, as the last lines change in tone, bringing forth a harsh reality, even to those submerged in the unified joys of love with a strategically placed narrow grave’ to emphasise the loneliness of death.
Ambiguity can also be noted through the use of many words within the poem, even from the first lines of the title itself. The word company’ has several connotations of which could signify the reader being within the company of lovers, or perhaps lover’s in the company of one another. Company’ also makes reference to a company of soldiers, or in this case an army of lovers, which in this case, is possibly is a general term encapsulating many lovers.’ This sense of generalisation is continued through the use of plural words notable the inclusive we’ that begins several lines in the first stanza, implying the universal experience common to many.