There's no such thing as pleasure here,
'Tis all a perfect cheat,
Which does but shine and disappear,
Whose charm is but deceit:
The empty bribe of yielding souls,
Which first betrays, and then controls.
'Tis true, it looks at distance fair,
But if we do approach,
The fruit of Sodom will impair,
And perish at a touch;
It being than in fancy less,
And we expect more than possess.
For by our pleasures we are cloy'd
And so desire is done;
Or else, like rivers, they make wide
The channels where they run;
And either way true bliss destroys,
Making us narrow, or our joys.
We covet pleasure easily,
But ne'er true bliss possess;
For many things must make it be,
But one may make it less.
Nay, were our state as we would choose it,
'Twould be consumed by fear to lose it.
What art thou, then, thou wingëd air,
More weak and swift than fame?
Whose next successor is despair,
And its attendant shame.
Th' experienced prince then reason had
Who said of Pleasure,—"It is mad."
Looking at the title, I could not predict what the main idea of the poem was going to be. The only words that I could figure out were pleasure. From there I thought I might deal with that. I also thought that the speaker of the poem might be a woman wanting pleasure or not wanting any pleasure.
During my reading, the tone of the poem was upset as if something had gone wrong in the speaker's life. This may have to do with a man.
From my understanding, after reading the first stanza, the speaker does not believe in pleasure. She says that pleasure is only false. It may appear one day, but it goes away quickly. The man's charm is just false. He betrays his wife and then controls her. This stanza made me remember numerous soap operas in which the man marries a bribe in love and with so many dreams. The man quickly forgets to keep the love going and the relationship turns chaotic. He then finds love in another woman and that the end of the marriage. And the woman is left by herself with all her hopes and dreams destroyed.
The second stanza, Angelou alludes to the biblical story Sodom. Next she goes on and talks about the difference between pleasure and "bliss."
The author, Katherine Philips uses figurative language to come across her audience.
First of all she uses an allusion. She alludes to Sodom. In the bible, Sodom is one of the cities that was destroyed for all the sins the their population had. The only good man in that city was warned to take his family to another city because that city would destroyed for all their sines. The angels told him and his family to never look back at the city while leaving. The wife of the good man turned around to see her relatives and close person being punished by God. This allusion is used to convey total destruction and/or punishment of sinners. In the poem, Angelou says,"But if we do approach, the fruit of Sodom will impair." Here I think she is referring to the wife turning around. The author used this allusion to convey that the sinners would be punished. In other words, The man would be punished for deceiving his wife or partner.