Natural Beauty of a Lesbian Relationship

Audre Lorde was a black, lesbian, mother, survivor, author, activist and warrior. While Lorde was, at one time, married to a man, with whom she had two children, throughout the course of her life she increasingly explored her sexuality and came to identify as a lesbian. In Lorde’s “Love Poem,” published in 1973, the speaker makes comparisons between a woman’s body and nature. These constant comparisons of the woman’s body to nature are a way for Lorde to say that being with a woman is natural. When she is with a woman is when she feels most grounded to the earth and her true self. Lorde focuses more on the beauty of her partners and admiring their physique, just like someone would admire a beautiful mountain.

 In order to understand the sexual imagery of nature in Lorde’s “Love Poem,” it’s useful to understand her life. Lorde was born and raised in New York City. As a young girl, Lorde had a passion for reading and writing, it was a way for her to express her emotions in a fun and creative way. Many of Lordes writings were centered around her struggle to find her identity. In her early life, she married Edwin Rollins and had two children with him. Later on, they got divorced and Lorde began the journey to find her identity. Lorde took her readers on this journey with her. During this time period, many people were not in support of the LGBTQ+ community. According to Morris, in the 1970’s lesbians “formed their own collectives, record labels, music festivals, newspapers, bookstores, and publishing houses, and called for lesbian rights in mainstream feminist groups like the National Organization for Women (NOW)” (2009). Lorde, as well as many other people, during this time received backlash about identifying within the LGBTQ+ community. Many people began to relate to Lorde’s pieces and they started to create a community of strong women. One of the things that most of these women had in common were that they identified as lesbians. In “Love Poem,” Lorde describes the female body in relation to nature.

            In the first stanza, Lorde uses images of mountains and valleys to describe the beautiful curves of a woman’s physique. The poem starts out with Lorde describing the physique of women by saying “Speak earth and bless me with what is richest/ make sky flow honey out of my hips/ rigid as mountains/ spread over a valley/ carved out by the mouth of rain” (lines 1-5). In these lines, the speaker seems to be talking to a God, ‘Speak earth and bless me with what is richest” (1) ‘make sky flow’ (2) has a religious connotation. As we know, Lorde grew up in a Christian home, this leads me to believe she is praying to a higher power. Asking and begging for a woman. Lorde also uses nature such as “mountains” and “valley” to describe the breasts and genitalia of a woman’s body. This symbolizes that the way she is feeling is natural as a way to show that woman’s bodies are natural and works of art. Lorde writes, “Speak earth and bless me with what is richest” (1). The definition of richest is plentiful; abundant. When I think of something being plentiful or abundant I think of nature and wildlife. Lorde could be praying for a woman because in her eyes that is what would make her feel the most fulfilled. This stanza shows that the rest of the poem is going to be about how Lorde feels when she is with a woman.

            The second stanza of this poem offers detailed and graphic descriptions of the speaker’s sexual relations with women. The first lines of this stanza directly talk about sex. Lorde writes, “And I knew when I entered her/ I was high in her forests hollow” (lines 6-7). By blatantly saying the phrase ‘when I entered her’ (6) the reader can assume that Lorde is talking about penetration with another female. This is also the second time that the speaker refers to a women’s genitalia as a ‘forest’. The forest is often a symbol for a mysterious place. So, the reader could infer that this is the first time the speaker is with a woman and that being intimate is a mysterious thing for her. This stanza continues to go into intimate detail about the woman’s body. Lorde writes, “honey flowed/ from the split cup” (lines 9-10). Many times, when referring to a women’s genitalia it gets compared to a honey pot. In these lines, Lorde is referring to the discharge that happens to a woman when participating in sexual intercourse comparing it to honey. The next few lines of this stanza describe the sexual acts that the speaker is performing on her partner. Lorde writes, “impaled on a lance of tongues/ on the tips of her/ breasts on her navel/ and my breath/ howling into her entrances/ through lungs of pain” (lines 11-15). These lines continue to talk about women in relation to nature. Using the phrase, “howling”(14) reminds me of a wolf. Wolves have the ability to make very quick emotional attachments; because of this they have learned to trust their hearts and minds. In these lines, the speaker could be taking those aspects of a wolf into her own life. Trusting her own heart and mind to do what feels most comfortable for her, which is being with a woman. These lines are giving the reader a detailed description of the erotic play that the speaker is performing during intercourse. Throughout this stanza, Lorde pushes the boundaries for the reader while comparing nature to the erotic acts of women.

            The last stanza of this poem is describing the aftermath of the erotic behavior that was being represented in stanza two. Lorde writes, “Greedy as herring-gulls/ or a child” (lines 16-17). I believe that the speaker is comparing herself to a herring-gull. This example is showing how Lorde enjoyed her intimate time with her partner. The phrase ‘greedy as a herring-gull’ (16) is implying that Lorde wants more. Many times, when you feed a herring- gull they come back always wanting more food and they will not leave until you give them the food or they find somewhere else to satisfy that craving. This simile shows that Lorde is being greedy with her sexual desires. This could be because she is finally comfortable with her own sexual identity. The last lines of this poem read, “I swing out over the earth/ over and over/ again” (lines 18-20). This example is referring to the woman as the ‘earth’. By using repetition of the phrase “over and over again” is implying that Lorde continued this erotic behavior time and time again.

            Additionally, when Lorde published “Love Poem” the idea of being a lesbian was not something that poets were used to reading or writing about. Lorde’s publisher wanted her to change the pronouns in the poem, but Lorde refused to change them to stay authentic to herself. In an interview with Adrienne Rich Lorde says, “Being an open lesbian in the Black community is not easy, although being closeted is even harder” (99). I believe that this poem was Lorde’s coming out to the community. By comparing the woman’s body to nature and expressing her love for women through her writing was her way of not being closeted anymore. Lorde also says, “I had already made up my mind that I wasn’t going to be worrying any more over who knows and who doesn’t know that I have always loved women” (99). This is another example of Lorde portraying her authentic self to her readers. In “Love Poem,” Audre Lorde allows the reader to embark on this journey of being intimate with another woman. The author does this by comparing the woman’s body to nature.

American Psychological Association, American Psychological Association,

Lorde, Audre, and Mahogany L. Browne. Sister Outsider. Penguin Books, 2020.

Lorde, Audre. “Love Poem.”, 11 Sept. 2005,

Picture retrieved from

2 Replies to “Natural Beauty of a Lesbian Relationship”

  1. Hi Kelly! I really loved your final blog post. It gave plenty of detail about Lorde and if I wasn’t your peer in this class, this post would give me more than enough information about Audre Lorde. The way you spoke about how Lorde compared a woman’s body to nature is beautiful. I always loved how elegantly poetic Lorde was and how her language just made you feel delighted. In “Love Poem”, I also liked how she described a woman’s body by using words such as “mountains” for breasts or “valley” for a woman’s genitalia. It really shows how she views women’s bodies as natural and beautiful. Your blog post was overall so well done and interesting to read. Great job!

  2. Hi Kelly!! You did a great job with you blog post. I was instantly interested just by reading the title of your post and was excited to hear what you had to say about Lorde and her relationships. You emphasize the points Lorde makes about how being a lesbian in a world of oppression is hard, but she still believes it is important to share her experience, not only for herself, but for others to relate to as well. The analysis you wrote explaining her poem, “Love Poem,” really dives into the feelings she felt during this time in her life. She is a very detailed writer and her imagery is very evident in this poem, but you brought it to life even more. I loved the connection you made about wolves and Lorde’s feelings. It really brought in your own ideas about what you think of when reading her work and helped you connect it with your argument which was perfect. Very well done!

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