Tuesday, 5 May 2009

The preferred 'Duffy'...

I am always attracted to strong, opinionated females, maybe this comes from my childhood, preferring over playing out, to spend afternoons drinking tea with my godmother, 'helpfully' picking off her nail varnish for her, as she discussed recent goings on in our small town. I still get a strong reminder of her when ever I'm near a mohair jumper, eat fresh rhubarb, or see a Chysanthemum... These memories have a close link to my obsession with middle aged performers such as Angela Lansbury, Betty Davis and oddly of all Cilla Black (i'll come back to that another time!) 
 Is it any wonder I have an attraction to all things camp?? !!

And so May sees the appointment of a new strong woman who fits this bill. Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy. Taking over from Andrew Motion, Duffy will be the second laureate to take the '10 year' fixed post- previously being a life long title. She will also be the first female, the first Scot and also the first appointed of the 21st century. 
 Considered for the title 10 years ago- but apparently denied by Tony Blair, who thought that having a female - homosexual poet laureate would upset 'middle-England', It will be interesting to view the reaction to her work, as already her poem "Education for Leisure" was removed from GCSE poetry examinations due to references to knife crime, with schools being urged to destroy all copies. 
Of her own writing, Duffy has said, "I'm not interested, as a poet, in words like 'plash'  – Seamus Heaney words, interesting words. I like to use simple words, but in a complicated way." Singer-composer Eliana Tomkins, with whom Duffy collaborated on a series of live jazz recitals, says "With a lot of artists, the mystique is to baffle their readership. She never does that. Her aim is to communicate."

Valentine by Carol Ann Duffy
Not a red rose or a satin heart.

I give you an onion.
It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.
It promises light
like the careful undressing of love.

It will blind you with tears 
like a lover.
It will make your reflection
a wobbling photo of grief.

I am trying to be truthful.

Not a cute card or a kissogram.

I give you an onion.
Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips,
possessive and faithful
as we are,
for as long as we are.

Take it.
Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding-ring,
if you like.

Its scent will cling to your fingers,
cling to your knife.

1 comment:

  1. this poem was ruined for me by an evil english teacher many years ago in a mobile school room that smelt of tea

    i also can't drink tea because of this