“Every peak is a crater.”

“Every peak is a crater. This is the law of volcanoes, making them eternally and visibly female. No height without depth, without a burning core” (Rich, 148).

When I think of a volcano I think of a natural structure that waits idly by until it finally erupts, often destroying what’s around it. I interpreted “Every peak is a crater” as that no matter how “okay” somebody seems on the outside, there is some hidden demon waiting to erupt on the inside. No matter how strong a love appears to be, it has its weaknesses. If a person were to be a volcano, they would be oppressed, holding in something so great, silencing their voice for so long, until they finally explode. In society, and as expressed in other Rich’s poems like Power, females are often expected to keep quiet and left to decide whether or not to stand up and speak or blend in and be safe. Regarding emotions, there is such a fine line to what is acceptable emotions and what is not and I think when a volcano explodes it is that individual not being able to contain their emotions any longer. Rich compares volcanos to being a female with a burning core and throughout these 21 Love Poems, Rich’s core is clearly burning with the desire to erupt all of her emotions (in this case, on paper). I think she also makes the volcano female because men have a voice in society and don’t usually get to the point of needing to explode. I also found it interesting that most of Rich’s poems were run on thoughts and thoughts carried out throughout the poem, but in these few lines she is very cut, clear, and short about her points, but it means so much. I think she wrote it like this because these assumptions about emotions and women are just a fact of society and needs to be blatantly stated.

One thought on ““Every peak is a crater.””

  1. I love that Rich relates women to volcanoes in this piece. Specifically, the oppressed voices of women begging to be heard. She suggests that every woman has a fire inside her, burning, refusing to be extinguished. Also, the line, “No height without depth, without a burning core” (148), makes me think that without the fire inside us, we will never be heard. Volcanoes, like women are powerful forces. Though some active and some inactive, we all have something inside us with a burning desire to get out.

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