Alex reads Lena poetry, DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver
We don’t always understand poetry, especially the really convoluted ones that seem to use various forms of symbolism to convey what they what they really want to say. However, when a guy truly understands the poem and recites it in a meaningful way, that’s when you just want to listen, even if you yourself don’t understand it.
In Delirium, the world considers love a disease, and even saying the word itself can bring dire consequences. In this scene, the invalid Alex has brought Lena to his refuge outside the city walls. There, she finds books of poetry in his mobile home, a few of which describe love as something other than what she was taught it was. He decides to recite one to her.
He doesn’t wait for me to answer before beginning to recite “‘How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.’”
There’s that word again: love. My heart stops when he says it, then stutters into a frantic rhythm.
“‘I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach…’”
I know he’s speaking someone else’s words, but they seem to come from him anyway. His eyes are dancing with light; in each of them I see a bright point of candlelight reflected.
He takes a step forward and kisses my forehead softly.
“‘I love thee to the level of every day’s most quiet need…’”
It feels as though the floor is swinging– like I’m falling.
“Alex–” I start to say, but the word gets tangled in my throat.
He kisses each cheekbone– a delicious, skimming kiss, barely grazing my skin. “‘I love thee freely…’”