Book Cover ~ Love Poems

October 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

Love Poems, Carol Ann Duffy, Picador, 2010

I apologise for being so quiet over the last week, but in my defence, I had a very hard paper to write and… had the best surprise birthday weekend one could wish for with my boyfriend and some dear friends flying over just to be there on my special day! But I am back here now, feeling a bit sentimental, missing them already.

And so here is the book cover I chose for this week, because it is about love and it is so pretty and reminds me of Chinese silhouettes (and I love Chinese silhouettes). It pretends to look innocent but cunningly hides what we learn inside about the difficulty of uncovering one’s feelings, talking about pain and love. Duffy does it so simply it is easy to identify with some of what she says. Love always sounds the same and she is aware of that – so much so that, even though what she writes has been written before, she manages, unlike so many, to make it sound right. The cover reflects this beautifully. After all, the trinkets that remind us of loved ones are the same, whoever we are – a train ticket, a necklace, a little note, a few pictures, a dried up flower or a lovely pen. This is perhaps the true beauty of Love Poems: they are universal, yet remain so personal. But these are commonplaces, and since I didn’t offer you a quote to start the week with, I will let the poet speak for herself with her beautiful ‘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.

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