Carol Ann Duffy
Biography of Carol Ann Duffy
Carol Ann Duffy, CBE, FRSL (born 23 December 1955) is a Scottish poet and playwright. She is Professor of Contemporary Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University, and was appointed Britain's poet laureate in May 2009. She is the first woman, the first Scot, and the first openly LGBT person to hold the position.
Her collections include Standing Female Nude (1985), winner of a Scottish Arts Council Award; Selling Manhattan (1987), which won a Somerset Maugham Award; Mean Time (1993), which won the Whitbread Poetry Award; and Rapture (2005), winner of the T. S. Eliot Prize. Her poems address issues such as oppression, gender, and violence, in an accessible language that has made them popular in schools.
Carol Ann Duffy Poems
Not a red rose or a satin heart. I give you an onion. It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.
She woke up old at last, alone, bones in a bed, not a tooth in her head, half dead, shuffled
Afterwards, I found him alone at the bar and asked him what went wrong. It's the shirt, he said. When I pull it on it hangs on my back
Words, Wide Night
Somewhere on the other side of this wide night and the distance between us, I am thinking of you. The room is turning slowly away from the moon.
The Light Gatherer
When you were small, your cupped palms each held a candleworth under the skin, enough light to begin, and as you grew, light gathered in you, two clear raindrops
We Remember Your Childhood Well
Nobody hurt you. Nobody turned off the light and argued with somebody else all night. The bad man on the moors was only a movie you saw. Nobody locked the door.
The Oldest Girl in The World
Children, I remember how I could hear with my soft young ears the tiny sounds of the air-
The Last Post
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. If poetry could tell it backwards, true, begin
Wear dark glasses in the rain. Regard what was unhurt as though through a bruise. Guilt. A sick, green tint.
The most unusual thing I ever stole? A snowman. Midnight. He looked magnificent; a tall, white mute beneath the winter moon. I wanted him, a mate
In Mrs Tilscher's Class
In Mrs Tilscher's class You could travel up the Blue Nile with your finger, tracing the route while Mrs Tilscher chanted the scenery. "Tana. Ethiopia. Khartoum. Aswan." That for an hour, then a skittle of milk and the chalky Pyramids rubbed into dust. A window opened with a long pole. The laugh of a bell swung by a running child. This was better than home. Enthralling books. The classroom glowed like a sweetshop. Sugar paper. Coloured shapes. Brady and Hindley faded, like the faint, uneasy smudge of a mistake. Mrs Tilscher loved you. Some mornings, you found she'd left a gold star by your name. The scent of a pencil slowly, carefully, shaved. A xylophone's nonsense heard from another form. Over the Easter term the inky tadpoles changed from commas into exclamation marks. Three frogs hopped in the playground, freed by a dunce followed by a line of kids, jumping and croaking away from the lunch queue. A rough boy told you how you were born. You kicked him, but stared at your parents, appalled, when you got back home That feverish July, the air tasted of electricity. A tangible alarm made you always untidy, hot, fractious under the heavy, sexy sky. You asked her how you were born and Mrs Tilscher smiled then turned away. Reports were handed out. You ran through the gates, impatient to be grown the sky split open into a thunderstorm.
I remember peeping in at his skyscraper room and seeing him fast asleep. My little man. I'd been in Manhattan a week,
The Love Poem
Till love exhausts itself, longs for the sleep of words - my mistress' eyes - to lie on a white sheet, at rest in the language - let me count the ways - or shrink to a phrase like an epitaph - come live with me - or fall from its own high cloud as syllables in a pool of verse - one hour with thee. Till love gives in and speaks in the whisper of art - dear heart, how like you this? - love's lips pursed to quotation marks kissing a line - look in thy heart and write - love's light fading, darkening, black as ink on a page - there is a garden in her face. Till love is all in the mind - O my America! my new-found land - or all in the pen in the writer's hand - behold, thou art fair - not there, except in a poem, known by heart like a prayer, both near and far, near and far - the desire of the moth for the star.
If I Was Dead
If I was dead, and my bones adrift like dropped oars in the deep, turning earth; or drowned, and my skull a listening shell on the dark ocean bed; if I was dead, and my heart soft mulch for a red, red rose; or burned, and my body a fistful of grit, thrown in the face of the wind; if I was dead, and my eyes, blind at the roots of flowers, wept into nothing, I swear your love would raise me out of my grave, in my flesh and blood, like Lazarus; hungry for this, and this, and this, your living kiss.
She woke up old at last, alone,
bones in a bed, not a tooth
in her head, half dead, shuffled
and limped downstairs
in the rag of her nightdress,
smelling of pee.
Slurped tea, stared
at her hand- twigs, stained gloves-