I am delighted to hear the news this morning that Carol Ann Duffy will be the new Poet laureate. How fabulous for all those readers who have found so much resonance in her words…she has converted many many students to poetry and to reading and was rather crassly overlooked last time by middle England’s bigotry…encapsulated in Tony Blair and all who sailed in him.
Just been teaching this poem recently on AQA and love its homage to Duffy’s mother and an era that was soaked in iconic images…captures the magic of youth and the transformative, marrow deep, adoring tenderness of child and mother.
Is love possession? How fierce are our attachments? This poem glances from image to image, finding those moments from shared tales where remembrance is more than alive, it is the ‘wonder’ of you!
How ‘clear is scent’ and how gorgeous the ‘red shoes’..still heard, still seen, still felt.
Love is an edible feast!
I’m ten years away from the corner you laugh on
with your pals, Maggie McGeeney and Jean Duff.
The three of you bend from the waist, holding
each other, or your knees, and shriek at the pavement.
Your polka-dot dress blows round your legs. Marilyn.
I’m not here yet. The thought of me doesn’t occur
in the ballroom with the thousand eyes, the fizzy, movie tomorrows
the right walk home could bring. I knew you would dance
like that. Before you were mine, your Ma stands at the close
with a hiding for the late one. You reckon it’s worth it.
The decade ahead of my loud, possessive yell was the best one, eh?
I remember my hands in those high-heeled red shoes, relics,
and now your ghost clatters toward me over George Square
till I see you, clear as scent, under the tree,
with its lights, and whose small bites on your neck, sweetheart?
Cha cha cha! You’d teach me the steps on the way home from Mass, stamping stars from the wrong pavement. Even then
I wanted the bold girl winking in Portobello, somewhere
in Scotland, before I was born. That glamorous love lasts
where you sparkle and waltz and laugh before you were mine.
Carol Ann Duffy 15 ideas!
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