Everything you need to understand or teach And What If I Spoke of Despair by Ellen Bass.
"And What If I Spoke of Despair" begins with the titular question: "And what if I spoke of despair who doesn't / feel it?" Immediately, readers are engaged, because the poet is implying that everybody, including her readers, feels despair. In the second through sixth lines, she uses a long sentence to go into more detail about the physical effects of despair on people. The poet uses the phrase "Who doesn't know the way it seizes," to underscore her belief that everybody feels despair at some point or another. Likewise, by noting the blood sloshing through "our" veins, she attributes the rush of bloodthe physical side effect of an increased heart rate, one of the side effects of many powerful emotions such as fear or despairto the community at large. At the same time, the poet is careful to note that, while everybody feels despair, there is no comfort in... View more of the And What If I Spoke of Despair Summary