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 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.

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

–Carol Ann Duffy

Carol Ann Duffy is a contemporary British poet whose work I discovered on one of my viists to England. She was a poetry critic for The Guardian and former editor of the poetry magazine Ambit.

In talking about her own writing, Carol Ann Duffy has said,”I’m not interested, as a poet, in words like ‘plash’ – Seamus Heaney words, interesting words. I like to use simple words but in a complicated way.” Singer-composer Eliana Tomkins says “With a lot of artists, the mystique is to baffle their readership. She never does that. Her aim is to communicate.”

My favorite volumes of her work are The World’s Wife and Feminine Gospels.

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