“Wedding Ring” by Denise Levertov is a short poem that looks into the issue of marriage, especially couples that have ended with a significant emotional impact on each other. The author uses reflection as a literary tool illustrate the despair associated with failed expectations and broken dreams. From the flow of the poem, it is evident that the persona in the poem is a woman who is in emotional despair as she reminisces of her marriage. Furthermore, she seems disappointed in how her marriage turned out and is even annoyed by her ring. As a result, she removed her ring and left it with other redundant items that she rarely uses in a basket containing things such as unused nails, paper clips, unnamed telephone numbers, and the keys to abandoned houses. With this imagery, the poem is trying to demonstrate that the woman no longer considers the wedding ring as a symbol of love and commitment; she feels that married part of her life was long gone. Additionally, the woman does not even find hope or encouragement that her marriage could be fixed in the future. She is also afraid of giving away her ring for fear that it would bring her bad luck.
Such gloom and despair give the poem a sad tone. The woman ins disillusioned and no longer holds marriage with the same regard as she did before. However, she still respects it as something that is socially important, as demonstrated by her reluctance to throw away her ring. Additionally, the poem also provides the sense that the author or the persona in the poem did not want the marriage to end, acknowledging that the marriage was good in its own time. But the lady is working on a way to move on, as she wonders whether the ring can be transformed into a piece of jewelry as a gift she could give to a friend without it being representative of the commitment and betrothal associated with marriage.