Though the speaker in "Central Heating" seems uncertain about whether or not his love is good for him, it's pretty clear that there's a woman whom he is passionate about. He has reservations about his love, perhaps based in his uncertainty about the nature of the world he lives in. Yet this love is intense, and even a memory of an unhappy night with his lover leads him to a revelation about her and his intense feelings for her. In the end, he's got it bad for her. Even if that means doubting every facet of reality, that's a sign of just how totally he's fallen.

Questions About Love

  1. Do you think that the women in the first stanza of this poem are the same as the woman who is referred to as "you?" Why, or why not? 
  2. What do you think the speaker's feelings towards the person referred to as "you" are? What parts of the poem support your answer? 
  3. What do you think the speaker means in line 9? What would be the wrong road? 
  4. What do you think the significance of the last line is for the relationship between the speaker and "you?" Why?

Chew on This

The speaker is passionate about his lover, but there's something making their love impossible to fulfill. Nope—not gonna happen.

Love conquers all, y'all. The speaker draws heat and comfort from his love for the woman he refers to as "you."

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