Thursday, May 21, 2009

Poetry Thursday with Britain's first lady laureate

It’s another Poetry Thursday (as opposed to Tangent Friday.)

Carol Ann Duffy was named Britain’s first female poet laureate in April. Her predecessors include Lord Alfred Tennyson, William Wordsworth and John Dryden.

Some examples of Duffy’s work:

Mrs. Darwin
7 April 1852
Went to the Zoo.
I said to Him—
Something about that Chimpanzee over there reminds me of you.

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.

Mrs. Rip Van Winkle
I sank like a stone
Into the still, deep waters
of late middle age,

Aching from head to foot.
I took up food

And gave up exercise.
It did me good.

And while he slept,
I found some hobbies
for myself.

Painting. Seeing the sights
I’d always dreamed about:

The Leaning Tower.
The Pyramids.
The Taj Mahal.

I made a little watercolour
of them all.

But what was best,
What hands-down beat
the rest,

Was saying a none-too-fond
farewell to sex.

Until the day
I came home with this
drawing of Niagara

And he was sitting up in bed
rattling Viagra.

-Jason Lea,

P.S. In addition to an annual wage, British poet laureates are entitled to a "butt of sack," which translates to about 600 bottles of Sherry.

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