Read below a brief analysis of the poem Cosy Apologia by Rita Dove; where she talks about her husband, and in a form of a formal statement, she writes an apology letter to him, but at the same time, it’s a love letter too in a form of a poem.

Cosy Apologia

‘I could pick anything and think of you-

This lamp, the wind-still rain, the glossy blue

My pen exudes, drying matte, upon the page.

I could choose any hero, any cause or age’

Rita Dove

Full poem unable to be reproduced due to copyright restrictions


  • Cosy – adjective, a feeling of relaxation, warmth, and comfort
  • Apologia – a formal written defence about one’s conduct, opinions or beliefs
  • Wind-still – dead calm; not stirring
  • Glossy – smooth and shiny
  • Exude – display quality or emotion
  • Matte – residues from smelting sulphur ores
  • Astride – with a leg on each side of something
  • Dapple – past tense; dappled: patched with light
  • Mare – the female of equine animals
  • Stirrups – devices attached to a horse’s saddle
  • Furrowed – furrow (on face or forehead) occupied with lines or wrinkles
  • Glint – gerund or present participle; glinting small flashes of reflected light
  • Postmodern – related to latest trends, attitudes, and technologies
  • Compact Disks – CDs, modern devices used to store data and information
  • Hurricane – a storm accompanied by violent winds
  • Big Bad Floyd – a powerful Cape Verde hurricane which struck the East Coast of the United States in 1999
  • Daydream – plural noun: daydreams; a series of euphoric thoughts that captures attention
  • Reminiscence – the act of remembering a past event or experience
  • Crushes – romantic feelings for someone that remains unspoken; a naive approach to matters of love
  • Nudge – 3rd person present; nudges; to draw attention by a verbal statement or a gentle push
  • Sissy – a man with feminine behaviour, a weakling
  • Licorice – a sweat aromatic substance used in medicine
  • Chewy – adjective; food that needs throughout chewing before swallowing
  • Cuss – gerund or present participle: cussing – the informal use of the word curse – to swear
  • Bunkered – occupying a reinforced self-sufficient shelter
  • Aerie – a nest made by a bird of prey, such as an eagle
  • Melancholy – a feeling of sadness, with no apparent cause


I can see you in anything and remember you – This lantern, the gently falling rain, the sky blue colour that my pen writes with, drying instantly, on paper. I could choose any hero and it would remind me of you, any time or season and, sure as the cupid sign, riding a horse, legs stretched far apart, as perching precariously on a horse – you are there, with weariness on your brow and chainmail warning, to deliver me: one of your eyes is happy, the other fixed upon the enemy.

This ultramodern, post-postmodern world is all bustle: CDs and fax machines, we often leave behind digital footprints from our busy schedules that tell us to do everything now and take no risks. The weather forecast just predicted a hurricane later arising from the sea, strangely, it is male. Big Bad Floyd, who awakens daydreams and bad expectations – traumatic memories of the worthless lovers of my youth, who were only there to kiss me very well, their names were equally awkward – Marcel, Percy, Dewey; the names were sweet and chewy like them, like liquorice – dark and hollow in the centre. They were good company and fun, but ultimately meaningless. Hurricane Floyd.

Is approaching furiously, swearing and cursing up a storm (an idiomatic expression). You are holed up in your nest. I’m also in my own one (my favourite companions are these computers, the twin desks, and hardwood floors): We are satisfied, even though we are sinners. Still, I find happiness from my simple life – it’s embarrassing to be so content with such a basic way of living – what kind of people are satisfied simply by what’s good for them? The ordinary, everyday life that we live isn’t really news, is it?

‘To Autumn’ by John Keats – Poem Analysis


The speaker is writing a formal statement to her husband, Fred, as shown in the poem’s dedication. Fred is absent at the moment of writing, although he is shut up somewhere in his own study, presumably working on his own art, therefore, writing the poem is a convenient or ‘cosy’ way for the speaker, Dove herself, to explain and apologise for harms done – she can do it from the comfort of her home workspace, in the form of a poem. It’s important to note that an apologia is not exactly the same as an ‘apology’! It’s more a statement made in defence of a certain action, rather than someone saying that they are truly sorry for something. What Dove is defending is left a little open to interpretation – she may have done something directly that offended her husband, or she may just be indulging a little too much in her own creativity, at the expense of ignoring him and his needs.

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  • Vocabulary
  • Story + Summary
  • Speaker + Voice
  • Language Feature Analysis
  • Form and Structure Analysis
  • Context
  • Attitudes + Messages
  • Themes + Deeper Ideas
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