Metaphor in On Monsieur's Departure

Metaphor Examples in On Monsieur's Departure:

On Monsieur's Departure 6

"slide into my mind,..."   (On Monsieur's Departure)

This line may bear sexual undertones. The idea of the speaker’s “mind” as a receptive vessel is underscored in the next line with its description of “soft[ness].” The “passion” spoken of here is, after all, of an expressly romantic character.

"die..."   (On Monsieur's Departure)

This line begins with “or die,” which suggests the end of this speaker’s body and consciousness. However, she continues the line and claims that this death will allow her to “forget” her love. This continuation suggests that the “death” she longs for is not a physical death but the metaphorical death of her second self. She wants the secret part of her that loves this man to die.

"cruel..."   (On Monsieur's Departure)

Love’s “cruelty” has two meanings in this line. It could signify Love’s ability to take away her feelings and “kindly” leave her without her passion. It could also signify Love’s ability to “cruelly” shoot her with a new arrow and infect her with another passion. This would be “kind” in the sense that any new passion would be less intense than the one that she feels now. The paradox in this line, that cruelty is kindness, suggests the desperate state in which the speaker finds herself. She is so wretchedly in love that even the cruelty of losing her love or falling in love with something else would be relief.

"melting snow..."   (On Monsieur's Departure)

“Melting snow” recalls the metaphor of “freezing and burning” in line 5. Again, passion or love takes on the ability to do harm by adding heat. She is made of “snow” which will melt under the heat of this desire. This metaphor emphasizes the danger love and passion pose to her.

"Follows me flying, flies when I pursue it, ..."   (On Monsieur's Departure)

Using this extended metaphor, the speaker compares her feelings to her own shadow: when she ignores it it follows her everywhere, but when she attempts to pursue it, it eludes her. This metaphor is apt for the themes of this poem because a shadow is inextricably linked to one’s person while still being a consequence of an external source. Like a shadow, the speaker’s love is tied to her body. However, she does not see it as emanating from her; it is the result of an external source acting on her body.

"freeze and yet am burned,..."   (On Monsieur's Departure)

Here, “freezing” can be interpreted as a metaphor for one’s demeanor and composure. It could also signal the speaker’s lack of action: she “freezes” before she acts on any of her desires. “Burns” then comes to signify her passion, desire, or love. In this sense the speaker is remarking that her efforts to protect herself, to maintain composure and freeze before acting, are burned away by her intense internal feelings.