Love’s time’s beggar, but even a single hour,
bright as a dropped coin, makes love rich.
We find an hour together, spend it not on flowers
or wine, but the whole of the summer sky and a grass ditch.
For thousands of seconds we kiss; your hair
like treasure on the ground; the Midas light
turning your limbs to gold. Time slows, for here
we are millonaires, backhanding the night
so nothing dark will end our shining hour,
no jewel hold a candle to the cuckoo spit
hung from the blade of grass at your ear,
no chandelier or spotlight see you better lit
than here. Now. Time hates love, wants love poor,
but love spins gold, gold, gold from straw.
Embraces the scope and vista of love. Duffy captures the elation and eroticism of love’s horizon; ‘but the whole of the summer sky’ captures the grandeur of reciprocation yet also the fragility of such moments against the relentlessness of time.
The bathos of ‘a grass ditch’ has a practicality and honesty too…and juxtaposed to the sensual delight and extended perfection of the kiss for ‘thousands of seconds’ and yet how brilliantly and ironically Duffy ensnares us with the ‘Midas light.‘..frozen time, frozen delight..aridity in the midst of ecstasy..how retropsective is this poem or is it a case of Eliot’s in the end is my beginning one wonders?
Duffy loves hair I have realised and the golden hair of the beloved lover haunts this collection..it stands for everything the poet adores about the lesuive pimpernel figure of the beloved…the poet testifying to the dazzling,sauntering singularity of the being who has put her under a spell with her (my assumption of course) ‘jackpot laugh’ and yet who rarely if ever seems to speak or even to show any flesh at all in this collection…and this like Winterson’s experiment in ‘Writtten of the Body’ dilutes the rapture of ‘Rapture.‘
I am also aware that Duffy spends much of her time ‘outside’ with the beloved either literally or more often metaphorically and whilst accepting Duffy’s desire perhaps to trace her lover within a pastoral setting..it does disembody the romance…I wanted more flesh and grit.. ..and hot sweaty love…. competent hands …warming her pearls this is not…I was very glad when they rowed as it brought a reality and flesh to the poems…
The Woman in Black
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