Simon Armitage - Modern poet, speaking in the words of a female.
(The title suggests that there was an intensive search for a person. It has begative connotations, someone who is a criminal. Sets the tone of the poem.)
After the first phrase, after passionate nights and intimate days,
After sexual intimacy came the first signs. First two lines are misleading, we get an idea of the start of a romantic relationship. This adds to the metaphor that the man has changed from the beginning of their relationship. This verse is a contrast of the title.
only then would he let me trace the frozen river which ran through his face,
'the frozen river' is a metaphor for the scars on his skin. If a river is unable to flow it is unable to function. Much like this solider who isn't feeling the same. The idea of a river shows the depth of his emotion.
only then would he let me explore the blown hinge of his lower jaw,
The small verses(with rhyming couplets) shows the baby steps/ progress that is being made in their relationship. 'Only then' is repeated to emphasise this.
'blown jaw' suggests his literal pain but symbolises how he can no longer talk to his partner and the fact the that he is mentally unhinged, unpredictable and volitile.
and handle and hold the damaged, porcelain collar-bone,
Here the tone of the poem's tone makes a contrast to the rough ideology of his scars. It changes to a delicate side…