Raymond Carver’s poem ‘Late Fragment’ is six lines long. Minimalist in construction the poem has two questions in it. The answers to them are direct and form the theme of the poem, the ‘desire to be loved’.
The question “what did you want?” is the foundation of the poem. The speaker is maybe questioning himself or someone else. The answer is very blunt and frank, “to call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on the earth.”
Carver is emphasizing that being loved and calling oneself loved is the most important thing in life. Often we think that all we need and want is money, fame, popularity or power.
But often we all are just in want of true and unstinted love. The unflinching directness of Carver’s answer is both endearing and sad. To call oneself beloved is like a proclamation of love and belonging.
The poem uses a conversational tone. The use of word fragment denotes that it is only a portion of the long conversation, maybe the last dialogue. Moreover, the frugality of words and openness of sentiment makes a direct impact on the readers, even with mere six lines.
The reiteration of the word “beloved” is a poignant way of telling the reader that love encompasses everything from adoration, affection and even self- recognition