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Valentine -- Carol Ann Duffy

Guest poem submitted by Bob Cooper, back in
February; we're only getting to run it now:
(Poem #865) Valentine
 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.

 Here.
 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 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.
 Lethal.
 Its scent will cling to your fingers,
 cling to your knife.
-- Carol Ann Duffy
 From "Mean time"
 Anvil books, 1993.

Some poems stay with you from the moment you read them. This is one of them.
It's direct. Simple. Worth going back to. It's allusive. I hear Cordelia
telling King Lear she loves him like salt. I hear Peer Gynt peeling his
onion. Then I just hear the poet, again, telling it how it is for her and
her lover with the uncomfortable frankness and absurdity we sometimes need
when we start using the language of love. I guess it's as simply complicated
as any or all relationships that mean so much to each of us. I think its
strength is partly because of its juxtaposition of positive and negative
features, and because we are never left with anything that's clearly good or
distinctly bad.

I hope it isn't just a poem of the 1990s.

Bob Cooper.

[About the poet]

Originally she's from Glasgow, but she learnt a lot about poetry in
Liverpool (where she was a pal of Adrian Henri). Now she knocks around in
London with Jackie Kay (another poet from Glasgow). Dated details of her
poetry are in the Oxford Companion to 20th Century Literature.

17 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Mai said...

I love this poem. It's anti-corny and pro-realism. I look forward to reading more from her.

Vintage Rings said...

The poem is really beautiful, and no doubt - this is a really talented poet, I'd love to read more of his things.

In this poem, he just passed out and around all the terms and known feelings, when you can see motifs, metaphors and messages hidden in piles of onions, in total, so good.

Vintage Rings said...

The poem is really beautiful, and no doubt - this is a really talented poet, I'd love to read more of his things.

In this poem, he just passed out and around all the terms and known feelings, when you can see motifs, metaphors and messages hidden in piles of onions, in total, so good.

Anonymous said...

Love can hurt and make you cry, love can kill, or leave an everlasting memory, like the scent of the onion on your hands

Anonymous said...

Love it. In this poem, the onion represents how plain and ordinary love is at first sight. However, underneath the plain outside there is something magical and wonderful - in this case, the poet referring to the onion as a moon, which is traditionally seen as a romantic icon.

Anonymous said...

'promises light' make poeple believe that the relationship will ne strong but C.A Duffy only days promises so not all relationship turn out good

فيس بوك said...

nothing to say but brilliant

James said...

I love this poem. It's anti-corny and pro-realism. I look forward to reading more from her. This poem has an unusual object and that what I like about this poem.

Anonymous said...

ha ha ha hedshoot beach

Anonymous said...

This poem is awesome!
For my homework I have to write a poem of my own,I'm comparing love to a lightbulb,gluestick or a rock.
Any ideas???
Thanks x

Anonymous said...

Amazing Poem, Doing it for my GCSEs. Love it sooooo much, looking forward to read more from her

online shoes said...

I am going to buy new pair of shoes for this valentine.Your Poem Remind me of my lover

Anonymous said...

great poem, love the extended metaphor of the onion , it creates depth in meaningful valentines gifts

Anonymous said...

My name is Zak and I really want to fuck the lesbians of the world. You me and a cup. Shit in my mouth you horny milfs of America.

Anonymous said...

what is the relationship in this poem

Anonymous said...

this poem has so much meaning love is like a onion in so many differnt ways....

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