Literature Review Poem for Haruko by June Jordan

In “Poem for Haruko” by June Jordan, June uses personification and imagery to give emphasis to how regretful and lonesome the speaker feels. For personification, the speaker expresses how they never thought they would keep a record of their pain or happiness. It is impossible to keep a record of pain or happiness, but this language is used to convey how important both the painful and happy moments were to the speaker to want to treasure them both. This event shows how they regret being separated from Haruko and all they have left of their time together are the records of their pain and happiness, hence why they treasure it so much to want to keep a record of it. Another example of personification would be when they say, “Now I do relive an evening of retreat a bridge I left behind where all the solid heat of lust and tender trembling lay as cruel and as kind.” By saying how their emotions of lust and tender trembling lay almost make their emotions seem discarded and uncared for showing how much Haruko had affected the speaker. This event relates back to giving emphasis towards the speaker’s regret and lonesomeness by showing how empty he feels now that he lacks Haruko in his life to relive or give him those emotions anymore. Imagery is another device used to relive his past with Haruko and remember how things used to be. “But now I do retrieve an afternoon of apricots and water interspersed with cigarettes and sand and rocks we walked across: How easily you held my hand beside the low tide of the world.” This is one of the main memories the speaker shares with us about their time with Haruko describing themselves as reliving or bringing back memories because it is one of the few things that are left from their relationship. It symbolizes the loneliness he feels especially in the line, “How easily you held my hand beside the low tide of the world.” because it makes us, the reader, think about how now there is no hand for the speaker to hold bringing us back to considering how desolate he feels.

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