Touched by an Angel Poem Summary line by line
Touche by an Angel is a poem by Maya Angelou that explores the nuanced feelings and transformational potential of love. The poem explores the subtleties of a romantic relationship, touching on the difficulties, exhilaration, and fragility that result from strong emotional ties.
Touched by an Angel Poem Summary
- “We, unaccustomed to courage” The poem opens by recognizing how uncommon and strange courage is when it comes to love. It implies that overcoming the emotional difficulties in a relationship calls for a fortitude that is uncommon.
- “exiles from delight live coiled in shells of loneliness”A feeling of emotional exile or loneliness is suggested by the metaphor of being banished from joy. Living “coiled in shells of loneliness” conjures up an eerie, guarded, and stifling emotional condition, implying a reluctance to experience joy to the fullest.
- “until love leaves its high holy temple” Love is depicted as residing in a sacred and elevated space, a “high holy temple.” This conveys the reverence and sanctity associated with love, emphasizing its transformative nature.
- “and comes into our sight” Love is described as leaving its sacred space and becoming visible to the individuals involved in the relationship. This marks the beginning of a profound encounter with love.
- “to liberate us into life.” The purpose of love, as portrayed in this line, is to free individuals from the constraints of emotional isolation and usher them into a fuller, more vibrant existence.
- “Love arrives” This simple declaration signals the arrival of love, indicating a shift in the emotional landscape of the individuals involved.
- “and in its train come ecstasies” Love is accompanied by intense emotional experiences, described here as “ecstasies.” This suggests that love brings not only joy but also heightened states of emotion and passion.
- “old memories of pleasure” The mention of “old memories of pleasure” implies a connection between love and nostalgic recollections of past joys, possibly suggesting that love rekindles and revitalizes positive memories.
- “ancient histories of pain.” On the flip side, love is also associated with the resurgence of past pains and hurts, suggesting that the depth of love can bring forth both positive and challenging emotions.
- “Yet if we are bold,” The poem encourages boldness in the face of love, underscoring the idea that embracing love requires courage and an openness to vulnerability.
- “love strikes away the chains of fear from our souls.” Love is portrayed as a liberating force capable of breaking the chains of fear that may have bound individuals emotionally. This emphasizes the transformative power of love in overcoming emotional barriers.
- “We are weaned from our timidity” Love is depicted as a process of maturation, helping individuals overcome their timidity or shyness. This suggests that love encourages personal growth and emotional openness.
- “In the flush of love’s light” The vivid imagery of the “flush of love’s light” evokes a sense of brightness and radiance associated with the intense emotions of being in love.
- “we dare be brave,” Love is portrayed as a source of courage, enabling individuals to dare greatly and be brave in the face of emotional vulnerability.
- “And suddenly we see” The sudden revelation suggests that love brings clarity and a heightened perception, allowing individuals to see things more clearly, both within themselves and in their relationship.
- “that love costs all we are” The poem acknowledges the sacrifices demanded by love, emphasizing that it requires individuals to give all of themselves, both in terms of joys and vulnerabilities.
- “and will ever be.” This line underscores the enduring nature of love, suggesting that the costs and sacrifices associated with love are perpetual.
- “Yet it is only love which sets us free.” The poem concludes with a powerful assertion that, despite the challenges and costs, it is love that ultimately liberates individuals, offering a sense of freedom and fulfillment.
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Touched By An Angel
We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.
“Touched by an Angel” by Maya Angelou is a poignant exploration of the transformative power of love. The poem delves into the multifaceted nature of romantic relationships, addressing the courage required to fully embrace love and the profound impact it has on individuals. Maya Angelou employs vivid imagery and evocative language to convey the ecstasy, challenges, and liberating essence of love. The poem asserts that, despite the costs and sacrifices, love is the force that sets individuals free and brings them into a fuller, more vibrant existence.
1. Who is Maya Angelou?
Maya Angelou (1928–2014) was an American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She is best known for her autobiographical works, including “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” and her poetry that explores themes of identity, resilience, and empowerment.
2. What is the central theme of “Touched by an Angel”?
The central theme of the poem is the transformative power of love. It explores the complexities of romantic relationships, emphasizing the courage needed to fully embrace love, the emotional highs and lows it brings, and the liberating impact it has on individuals.
3. What does the poem suggest about the cost of love?
The poem suggests that love comes with significant costs, requiring individuals to give all of themselves—both the positive and vulnerable aspects. It acknowledges the sacrifices demanded by love but asserts that, despite these costs, love is the force that sets individuals free.
4. How does the poem depict the impact of love on courage?
The poem depicts love as a source of courage, encouraging individuals to be bold and daring in the face of emotional vulnerability. Love is portrayed as a force that weans individuals from timidity and empowers them to face the challenges and joys that come with deep emotional connections.
5. How does the poem describe the liberating aspect of love?
The poem describes love as a force that liberates individuals from fear and timidity. It suggests that, despite the costs and challenges, love is the key to freedom, allowing individuals to be their authentic selves and experience a fuller, more vibrant existence.