Miss. Furr and Miss. Skeene

Blog by Aaron Garza

First impression of the poem was that Helen Furr was a woman that was married to a man, the poet even introduced her as “Mrs. Furr.” We quickly realize that that was in the past and in reality she lived with her female companion, Georgine Skeene. We know they were romantically involved because the poet would mention how they both would, “do every day the gay thing that they did every day.”

Later in the poem, we see that the two women do not have as much in common as they think. One example includes Georgine Skeene’s desire to travel, while Helen Furr did not enjoy traveling. The poet specifies, “they stayed in a place and were gay there, both of them stayed there…” Additionally, Georgine Skeene seems disappointed with that decision.

One thing I notices was that when the poet would use the word, “gay” it appeared to be a good thing. Which is different because in today’s society, they word “gay” is used to state something that is uncool. This is noticeable when Helen Furr is back at the town she used to live in and mentioned how, “she did not find it gay to stay,” with the connotation that she preferred not to be there in that city.

Towards the end of the poem, Georgine Skeene leaves for two months and it is clear that Helen Furr does not need Georgine to be “gay;” therefore, she is romantically involved with at least one other woman. It started off calmly, “but she was gay longer every day.” Meaning that it was no longer just a simple affair, it was progressing.

Overall, this poem was fairly easy to read and understand, except for the fact that the poem was incredibly repetitive, especially with the words “gay” and “cultivating.” However, with these repetitions, it made it easier for the reader to understand that there was a figurative meaning to “cultivating her voice.” What do you think the poet meant by the female characters cultivating their voices? I think the poet meant to make their “voice” as a way of expressing their comfort with their sexuality because the last sentence of the poem states, “…and later was telling them quite often, telling them again and again.” In other words, by Helen Furr “telling them,” the poet means that she would be physical with other women. Furthermore, Helen’s voice (the one she spent cultivating) is her experience with these women.

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