A Fine A Private Place & Play-By-Play
"A Fine a Private place" is a masterpiece poem that creatively explores the power that the woman possesses by and large with regard to sex, Ackerman portrays women as the masters of sex, and she brings them out in such a way to praise their prowess in winning the man to her ways. This, she neatly coins it in poetic jargon that only the wise with an ear keen on literature can understand. Apparently, she uses the imagery of the sea to refer to more subtle and sensitive issue of politics. In her literary genius, she quickly creates an erotic image that if not critically analysed, erotically subdues one to the land of Adam and Eve. A "Play- By- Play" on the other hand is a poem that has massive elements of celebrating the women folk and female sexuality in a more dignified manner as compared to the former to an extent that the poet juxtaposes older women to young men in an effort to bring out the salient issues about their (women's) sexuality.
Female sexuality should be greatly celebrated since it is the urn of a society's true definition, the necessary voice to political change. Ackerman's "A Fine a Private Place" succeeds in putting the woman at the helm of a controversial issue that is sex, this she uses an imagery to describe how vital human sexuality is in controlling the society. However, she portrays women as sexual tools considering the fact that in this poem, the man is the one in-charge of the entire voyage on the sea with the woman: consider the fact that in the 1st stanza, it is the man who asks the woman out by talking her under the blue horizon, it is the same man who asks twice before the woman understands the reason why he was stroking her hands, the poet further writes that "When panting ebbed, and he signaled Okay?" implies that it was this signal that eventually made the man "lead her to safety". In comparison however, Play- By – Play is a poem that celebrates human sexuality through bringing out women as important factors to societal change, Murray portrays the women as important entities in bringing change in the society.
According to Murray, female sexuality is an asset, this is evident in the fact that the persona asks "Would it distract the young men—if they realized that three women laughing…are moving beside them on the field?".If not so, why then would the persona ask if it would distract the young men? Secondly, A Fine A Private Place puts women in a limbo considering the fact that the poet has deliberately chose to sell the female sexuality cheap in order to please the man, this poem has a tranquil mood that facilitates the man to take over the entire game. Female sexuality gets another blow when the poet creatively brings out the issue of penetration. Ackerman emphasizes this when she alludes to the imagery of "letting sea water drive it through petals…to the dark purpose of a conch-shaped womb". She again depicts women as mere sexual tools whose purpose is to satisfy the man in the name of love.
We can not afford to divorce Ackerman's meaning in using the sea imagery, according to Ackerman, unlike the traditional portrayal of women, she compares the political arena to a voyage on the sea where in as much as the man in this poem leads the way, she is the one who eventually decides the next cause of action as depicted in the last stanza, the imagery of eating the peach. Ackerman states in the last stanza that the woman thought of it miles away in reference to the eating of the peach in this case referring to the woman's main agenda of using all in her possession to ensure that she wins the man over (Ackerman, 1948).
Murray has used a more direct approach to approaching the theme of politics and sexuality; she poses questions to the men though she creatively and intentionally chooses to use boys in contrast with older women. She begins by asking "Would it surprise the young men playing softball on the hill to hear the women on the terrace admiring their bodies?" this implies that it is supposed top be pretty obvious that the young men would not be surprised. She goes on to ask pretty challenging questions aimed at the men. This is expressed in the 2nd stanza where Murray posits that "And why should it surprise me that these women, well past sixty, haven't put aside desire but sit at ease and in pleasure, watching the young men move above the rose garden," this in my opinion is an implication that age is not an issue in order for a woman to enjoy her sexuality.
If anything, they are in charge of the entire play, consider the imagery of the boys moving above the rose garden. Traditionally, roses are beautiful flowers normally associate with good tidings that this women want bring to young men, they sit pretty following the boys in order to satisfy their strength. A Fine A Private Place on the other hand uses very complex imagery and erotic language to express the freedom and the advantages of female sexuality. Ackerman uses the imagery of the peach which has traditionally been used in relation with the women folk to depict the power that the women poses when it comes to sex, she coins this in the last stanza "…sinking her teeth into the cleft of a voluptuous peach…" this in my opinion implies the fact that the woman enjoyed giving in to the demands of the man after all thereby a disgrace to the women.
In the last stanza, the poet politely asks if the young men would not want to stand on the hill and look down where they have come from, she finishes her poem by asking "Wouldn't they have liked to see how they looked down there, as they stood for a moment at the plate—bathed in the light of perfect expectation—before their shadows lengthened. Before they walked together up the darkened hill— so beautiful they would not have recognized themselves". The last line of the last stanza tends to celebrate the women for taking the young men to higher places, for the young men to realize their full potential (Murray, 1972). This two poems boast of the potential of women and their strength, both poets believe that the women posses a special strength that attracts the men towards them thereby deciding the direction in which the men will follow.
The poems have employed a magnificent use of relevant imagery to drive the point home. For instance, the erotic nature of Ackerman's poem makes one to desire to read more and in between the line in order to find meaning, on its face, it is a romantic episode of a couple who are out to enjoy each other's company. The same is true of Murray's poem which draws a significant comparison between the young men and the women in their sixties. In a nutshell, Gender inequality is very rife in many countries especially in politics. Over the years politics has been a reserve of the men and an attempt by women to get into politics has always been met with obstacles.
Writing in 1997, Ortner argues that women have always been looked down upon as potential leaders, the anti equality groups have always worked tooth and knife to ensure that women are under the law and not in any given circumstance the ones making the laws. This has however faced stiff challenge with sexuality becoming centre stage especially in democratic states. Amnesty International has even gone a step further to fight for gay rights, suggestions have been tabled and laws passed to support the gay community in occupying high offices (Ortner, 1997). "A Fine A Place" and "Play-by Play" have exhaustively raised very salient issues in as far as gender, sexuality and politics marry. These poets have gone an extra mile to ask questions that may bring the necessary change that the society needs to answer. A keen look at the two poems will open a myriad of questions relating to why the women are indeed the future of our politics today.