Elle McHugh English L202 Paper 2 – Analysis October 15, 2012 The Poetry of “Cosmic Love” Emerging in the summer of 2009, Florence and the Machine, a British indie-rock band, has a style of a mix between soul and rock. Nonetheless, their sound is best described by their lead singer Florence Welch as, “something overwhelming and all-encompassing that fills you up . . . ” That said, their music contains an ethereal intensity with poetic elements that set them apart from other music. Such a song by Florence and the Machine that exemplifies poetic components is “Cosmic Love. This particular tune tells the story of girl who falls in love with a boy and becomes consumed by it. However, she fears that he may not feel the same, and becomes entirely absorbed by this anxiety. But, later, she comes to the realization that she was mistaken. In order to express this tale, Florence and the Machine employ poetic mechanisms to better explain the plot of this story. Thus, because of form and extended metaphor the song “Cosmic Love” by Florence and the Machine can be equated as a poem. The most evident of these poetic devices that are commissioned is form. Cosmic Love” is comprised of seven four-line stanzas or quatrains, which alternate between verse and chorus. As described by Kennedy, the use of quatrains, “is the most common stanza form used in the English-language [of] poetry,” (Kennedy, 531). Accordingly, this consistency gives the song a distinct configuration, which greatly aligns it with common arrangements of poetry. Along with its physical appearance, because “Cosmic Love” conveys a story, it has the textual appearance of a ballad. Thus from these two elements, “Cosmic Love” produces a parallel between song and poetry.
Another facet of form that appears within this song is repetition. The chorus of “The stars, the moon, they have all been blown out/ You left me in the dark/ No dawn, no day, I’m always in this twilight/ Of the shadow of your heart,” (5-8) is repeated four times throughout. Due to such reiteration, the chorus is hugely emphasized. Accordingly, the importance of the girl’s feelings of blindness by the love she is experiencing is exhibited. Also, because this recurs so frequently, her inability to escape these emotions is articulated. It is as if she is constantly ambushed by these feelings.
Therefore, from this recurrence of emotions, this song exudes poetic form, again. Another key poetic component represented within “Cosmic Love” is an extended metaphor. This tool is exercised to further the understanding of the story told. As can be seen throughout the song, this metaphor may refer to the laws that control the universe, as represented by the word “cosmic” in the title. For example, she explains in the first stanza that, “A falling star fell from your heart/ And landed in my eyes/ I screamed aloud, as it tore through them/ And now it’s left me blind,” (1-4).
Though this may seem to be described as an actual occurrence, it does not mean that a star literally fell from the sky and landed in this poor girl’s eye, as that would be quite a painful ordeal. However, it may explain that she began to fall for this particular boy, and it has left her unaware of the rest of the world or of the happenings in it. Moreover, this reference to being blinded by a star may even be metaphorical allusion to the term of being starry-eyed. As defined by the Oxford-English dictionary, starry-eyed means to be, “full of emotion, hopes or dreams about someone or something. And, in this sense, it greatly relates to the sentiments that are being voiced, and breeds a connection to metaphors that are used in poetry. Such figurative language continues on through the chorus. Perhaps, the lyrics; “The stars, the moon, they have all been blown out,”(5), explain that the world as she knew it has been extinguished like a candle. She may have become oblivious to the constants that govern our universe. Furthermore, when the song states, “No dawn, no day, I’m always in this twilight/ In the shadow of your love,” (7-8), it may be describing that she is trapped in a vague unawareness of the outside world because of her love or this boy. Along with this, the cosmic metaphor persists into the second verse. And, as indicated by the lyrics, “And in the dark, I can hear your heartbeat/ I tried to find the sound/ But it stopped and I was in the darkness/ So darkness I became,” (9-12), just as everyday the earth dissolves into night, she too may have drifted into a similar darkness. She is possibly so terrified that this boy may not share her feelings that she has become like darkness of the night. And, again, the use of this metaphor continues to offer to connect poetry and this song.
Finally, in the third and last verse, this metaphor persists. This stanza possibly explains that she resolved to release herself from her blind and starry-eyed state by “ . . . [taking] the stars from my eyes . . . ” (17), and find a way out of the darkness as indicated by the lyrics, “ . . . and then I made a map/ And knew somehow I would find my way back,” (17-18). But, soon realizes that she was not alone in her fears of unshared feelings because, “[he was] in the darkness too,” (19). Or, that he was lost in a similar night like darkness as she was. Then, because of this, she, “ . . stay[s] in the darkness with [him]” (20). Thus, this metaphor to the cosmos deepens the supremacy of love they have for one another. And, in comparing their love to the laws within the universe, the description of their feelings for one another seem to be otherworldly and almost supernatural. Once again, this extended metaphor that was cleverly fashioned maintains to engender a likeness between this song and poetry. Throughout “Cosmic Love,” Florence and the Machine uses poetic devices to exhibit, support, and further explain the story within the song.
Their insightful ability to make use of form and an extended metaphor creates a respectable poem. Therefore, in applying popular poetic form and crafting an extended metaphor to describe this love-struck journey, this song is truly an artfully illustrated poem. Work Cited 1. “Cosmic Love. ” Moshi Moshi Entertainment. 2009. Web. 11 Oct. 2012. www. florenceandthemachine. net 2. Kennedy, X. J. , and Dana Gioia. “Chapter 17: Closed Form. ” Backpack Literature. Fourth ed. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, 2012. 512-31. Print.
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