Monday, 10 October 2011

The Bliss of Solitude: Carol Ann Duffy

Words, Wide Night 
Somewhere on the other side of this wide night
and the distance between us, I am thinking of you.
The room is turning slowly away from the moon.

This is pleasurable. Or shall I cross that out and say
it is sad? In one of the tenses I singing
an impossible song of desire that you cannot hear.

La lala la. See? I close my eyes and imagine the dark hills I would have to cross
to reach you. For I am in love with you

and this is what it is like or what it is like in words.

Carol Anne Duffy is our poet laureate whose words are direct and easily read. She believes that poetry is a unique way of relating to the world and "the place in language where we are most human". 
For her the reader must invest as much in a poem as the writer and as such that poetry is akin to prayer. 
"I like to use simple words but in a complicated way" she says, and that she does:

This is the word tightrope. Now imagine
a man, inching across it in the space
between our thoughts. He holds our breath.

There is no word net.

You want him to fall, don't you?
I guessed as much; he teeters but succeeds.
The word applause is written all over him.


Barley, water, peat
weather, landscape, history
malted, swallowed neat.

I like that last one almost as much as I like whisky. 
It made me want to like her; that and the fact that this is one of favourite poems:

There was a young man from Australia
Who painted his arse like a dahlia
Tuppence a smell
Went down very well
But thruppence a lick was a failure

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