Letter to her Husband (c. 1640s)
In this deliberative poem, Bradstreet pleads for her husband to return from his travels abroad to her home and to her body. The poem is highly rhetorical, metaphysical, and sensual (again much like the early poetry of John Donne). The image of Simon Bradstreet as the “head” and Anne as the “heart” is standard, but Bradstreet extends her imagery into a “conceit” (an elaborate, extended metaphor equating unlikely objects together, a technique common to the seventeenth-century metaphysical poets), in this case linking her husband and his business trips to the Caribbean to the movements of the “sun” (her husband) around the “earth” (Bradstreet), a conceit that has clear sexual overtones. Once again, death in these early love poems is seen more in natural terms, as separation and cessation ("nature's sad decree"), not spiritualized as it will be in her later poems.
A Letter to Her Husband, Absent upon