Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Valentine by our Poet Laureate

Valentine by Carol Ann Duffy
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.


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 a 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.

Its scent will cling to your fingers,
cling to your knife.

I discovered this breathtakingly beautiful poem some years ago in a wonderful anthology called, "Poem for the Day", which I heartily recommend. It contains both traditional and modern poems, childhood favourites and quirky original choices. Look through it and find the one selected for your birthday - or just read it one calendar day at at time, literally. Such a gentle pleasure. 

As many readers will probably know, Carol Ann Duffy is the current  Poet Laureate of the UK. I think the first woman to be appointed. She succeeded Andrew Motion who himself succeeded the more famous Ted Hughes who was the widower of Sylvia Plath, upon Hughes' death.

And speaking of love - a big thank you to all those who left such kind comments on my post about my mother's birthday remembrance. I was quite  overcome at the time and did not make return visits to all your own blogs. But be assured that I do read and enjoy your blogs and am slowly beginning to leave comments more regularly again. 


  1. My Liverpudlian grandmother used to say
    " my heart is like a cabbage
    Almost cut in two
    The leaves I give to others
    The heart I give to you"

  2. What a super poem - can't believe I haven't come across this poem of Duffy's before. Thank you.

    Equally touched by John's poem above too!

    1. I love Duffy's poetry - and John's Grandma's! Cx

  3. Lovely poem, I used to read poetry when I was younger. I was encourage by my mother. I must find some poetry books and encourage my grandchildren.
    John's poem is lovely too.
    Julie xxxxxxxxxx

    1. Good idea. I think children love poetry - especially if it's a bit cheeky or funny. Cx

  4. at least hope it's a red onion!

    1. Good point! When I read your comment I was cross with myself for not using a red one in my photos - but then I remembered that it was " wrapped in brown paper". Perhaps written before red onions became so fashionable...Cx

  5. Replies
    1. Thank you - I've loved it since I first read it. Cx

  6. Oh, I love that poem. I love John's too and am going to steal it to write in my hubby's Valentine card!
    M x

    1. What a brilliant idea Marina. I might do the same!Cx

  7. An amazingly brilliant poem and one I didn't know- many 'thank yous' for introducing me! Jane xx

    1. My pleasure, Jane. I'm just amazed ( and delighted with myself) for being able to enlighten the Booklady!Cx

  8. I was so happy to be introduced to this poem along with your lovely images. Valentines do not have to be sugary sweet as this proves.
    I found you via Nilly.


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