Type: Literary Analysis
Pages: 2 | Words: 393
Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Love Song: I and Thou

At the start of the poem, the tone is a sad one due to the frustrations Dugan makes us realize he has gone through. As it progresses it becomes resentful and finally a hopeful tone as he seems to know the solution to his disappointments.

The extended metaphor in this poem (Line 8-12), ‘I built the roof for myself, the walls for myself, the floors for myself, and got hung up in it myself.’ Dugan blames himself for what has befallen him; he metaphorically uses a house to refer to his life.

Alan Dugan Poem Analysis Example

In the last three lines, Dugan needs someone who would assist to nail his right hand. Dugan writes, “I need a nail to nail the right, a help, a love, you, a wife.’ (Line 27-31) The nailing of hands relates to crucifying of Christ. Dugan creates irony in this poem by stating that a wife can only help a husband crucify himself. However, he realizes his wife is the only thing he can count on in his life.

Dugan uses several metaphors in this poem. He writes, “By Christ, I am no carpenter.’ (Line 7-8) Here, he implies that no one is perfect and that’s why he shouldn’t be feeling guilty about his failures.

He uses the simile, “bent nails dance all over the surface like maggots.’ (Line 5-7) He feels that fate has judged him wrong by letting bad things fall on him

I think the poem is euphonic. It is harmonized and well crafted. Examples of words that create a euphoric effect are the repetition of the phrases; “I nail” and “for myself.”


Alan Dugan expresses a lot of frustration about his life. He compares it to building a house. He feels that he ought to have built his life in a better way. Dugan is not happy with the way his life has turned out. He figuratively writes in line one, “Nothing is plumb, level, or square.” Although he is referring to his house, we understand he is talking about the mistakes and faults in his life. Only the last lines relate to the title of the poem, ‘Love Song: I and Thou.’ Dugan realizes that a wife is important in helping a husband relieve his frustrations and anger. The poem is about a person analyzing his life.

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