Moira Eribenne and Janet Lewison: Carol Ann Duffy’s Hour and Mimi Khalvati’s Ghazal.

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This Tusitala conversation between Janet Lewison and Moira Eribenne discusses the rapture of love in two of the AQA Moon on the Tides most popular poems, Mimi Khalvati’s Ghazal and Carol Ann Duffy’s Hour.

This discussion proved a remarkably lively conversation about love’s stories and offers students and interested readers lots of ideas for essays and further discussion.


I find the rapture of Duffy’s joyful Hour very thrilling Moira and the act of worshipping another physically, dominates the poem! Perhaps the time limit is also the key to the ecstasy too, as a cynic might say, as the poem does contain within it clues to a slightly different reading of the rapture of these lovers. When we are restricted or constrained by time we may enjoy a moment rather more than we would on a daily basis- hence the shock some passionate lovers find when they start to live together.

I think your allusions to Goldfinger and ‘Midas’ ironically shed a different light (other than poem’s golden glow) upon the relationship. Without wanting to sound like a kill joy, I will just try and argue slightly less positively about the relationship and maybe suggest that it is, in its own way,  as idealising as Ghazal, though subtly aware too of love’s frailty too.

Remember that Hour is a poem that isolates a moment in time through the lively employment of the present tense. It gives representation to a golden ‘here’ or now. This use of the present tense gives immediacy and powerful sensuality to the poem. Hour is significantly collected in a long sequence of poems about a love affair, where the relationship eventuality comes to a melancholy end. This end I would contend is glimpsed throughout the course of the poems about this relationship and even in this particular poem, where love seems ecstatic and adoring, we may be able to detect cracks or incongruities in the way the speaker gives representation to the relationship.

Moira A. Eribenne (BA, M.Ed.)

I’m a writer  working in education questing for understanding and depth in language and communication;  curious about the ‘motors’ behind written text, the spoken word or simply the gestured,  to wit, writing and ‘reading’ poetry landscapes language to such a degree that one has to look deeper, longer, to appreciate what is there:  simply a train or a time machine.

Through a series of conversations I engage with Dr. Lewison to explore written landscapes, their hues and allegories with a view to taking students along on a journey of discovery treasured in language.


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