A Textual Analysis on Luis G. Dato’s “The Spouse”: A Biblical Approach

I stumbled upon this piece of literature, A Textual Analysis on Luis G. Dato’s “The Spouse”: A Biblical Approach, while doing a research on Luis G. Dato back in 2011. I found it in the now defunct site of the “Christian Friends on Christians” web site —  Enjoy.

I love the message of this poem, so I chose this to be the subject of my textual analysis about two semesters ago in the graduate school. Below the poem is my textual analysis. It’s more of a self-interpretation based on my spiritual convictions and adherence, though. I would appreciate feedback so feel free to comment.

The Spouse

by Luis Dato

Rose in her hands and moist eyes young with weeping,
She stands upon the threshold of her house,
Fragrant with scent that wakens love from sleeping,
She looks far down to where her husband plows.

Her hair disheveled in the night of passion,
Her warm limbs humid with the sacred strife,
What may she know what man and woman fashion
Out of the clay of ire and sorrow. Life?

She holds no joys beyond the day's tomorrow,
She finds no worlds beyond her love's embrace,
She looks upon the form behind the furrow,
Who is her Mind, her Motion, Time and Space.

O somber mystery of eyes unspeaking,
O dark enigma of life's love forlorn;
The Sphinx beside the river smiles with seeking
The sacred answer since the world was born.

This poem, The Spouse, portrays a picture of the curse spoken by God in the Garden of Eden upon the man and the woman. To the woman He said, ” your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you, and to the man He said: “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life by the sweat of your brow you will eat your food.”

The Spouse Eugenio Esplana Dato
Father of LGD, Eugenio Esplana Dato c1930s

Both man and woman in this poem suffer the curse. The woman suffers because she is a prisoner and a slave to the desire and devotion that she has for her husband as described in the third stanza. She builds her world around her husband and by doing so, has also set her own limitations in that she eventually refuses any joy that life could have further offered her if only she would, for once, explore the outer world beyond her self-made world with her husband. Because of this, she only looks up on her husband to satisfy her, an expectation that is only bound to be disappointed, also because of the curse upon the man.

From afar, the woman looks passionately at her husband who is described as her mind, her motion, her time and space. From where the wife stands, she suffers the curse. In the same way, the husband himself in the fields suffers the curse of not being able to revel on such passion and devotion that her wife pours out on him. He is too preoccupied to enjoy the beauty and luxury of his wife’s love for him. He has to work, and as hard as he could, he must. By doing so, he doesn’t just deprive himself of the extravagance of his wife’s love and attention, but also deprive his wife of the very same things that he deprives himself of.

The Spouse Barbara Imperial Guevara
Mother of LGD, Barbara Imperial Guevara (left),
with a friend, Hermana Barrameda c1900s

The outcome of these two curses brought together is devastating as we can see in the lives of couples in our society nowadays. The curse on man has caused him to become egoistic, and the curse on woman has caused her to become insecure.

If both parties are victims, who is there to blame? Is it God? If we go back to the story of the fall of man, there is none to blame but man himself (I am now speaking in the context of man as both male and female, which is what it really means in the eyes of God as said in Gen. 1:27).

God is neither a feminist nor a chauvinist. His likeness is only fulfilled in the union of man and woman, which the world has been so blindingly trying to destroy. What, therefore, should be done? The only wise thing to do is to learn from man’s mistake and not repeat it again. Man, therefore, needs to pay heed this time to what God says. We need to go back to the Alpha and the Omega.

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