a rag, a bone, a hank of hair

Discussion in 'English Only' started by SophieD, Feb 25, 2008.

  1. SophieD Senior Member

    This comes from a song :
    "Love ! It's an iron hand in a woman's glove, It's a hawk disguised as a dove, it's a rag, a bone, a hank of hair, it's not fair, it's a nightmare that poets call a beautiful dream"

    Apparently, "a rag, a bone, a hank of hair" comes from a poem by Rudyard Kipling entitled "the vampire". But I have some trouble understanding what it means here, in this song. Any ideas ?
  2. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Another Country
    English English
    Well, if it means anything like what it means (or seems to mean) in the poem
    I'd say it means that love is like a beautiful woman: beautiful on the outside, alluring etc., but when you (erm) boil her down she's no more than clothes, bones, and hair ~ which may all be beautiful in themselves too ~ i.e. love appears wonderful from a distance but is in fact pretty nasty.
    It's not the loveliest image I've ever come across.
  3. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    Kipling's poem, inspired by the painting of a famous actress of the time--a boudoir scene of a woman sitting, looking at a supine man--describes how men expend themselves for the sake of a woman, a woman who inevitably does not even understand what a man does or why he does it. It's the cliché of a vamp, "sucking men dry." (No, that last quote isn't part of the poem.)

    Kipling reduces the woman to clothes, flesh (or bone, rather), and hair. In fact, the image of the man "praying" to "a rag, a bone, a hank of hair" makes one think not so much of a succubus but of an idol or a holy relic.
  4. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Another Country
    English English
    Yes, when I first read the poem I immediately thought of a voodoo doll thingie.

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