Friday, 1 May 2009

Two Birds and a Case of Sherry

I can hardly contain my glee. Carol Anne Duffy is the new Poet Laureate, I hope she's as pleased as I am. I've only known her work for a couple of years but I recommend it to any one who hasn't read it, it's good. But the goodness of her work isn't the only reason I'm so pleased, there are two more: a) she is a she, and b) she is a Scot. She is the first woman and the first Scottish Poet Laureate. She is also bisexual but I suspect that isn't a first. Anyhow the government has scored a hat trick: three minorities in one appointment. Whether this will be a good thing for those minorities remains to be seen (is there something ridiculous in calling half the population of the world a minority, and the whole of the population of Scotland one? That's Imperialism for you), but I'm raising a glass of fizzing hope tonight. Here is one of my favourites of hers:

Carol Ann Duffy, "Prayer"

Some days, although we cannot pray, a prayer
utters itself. So a woman will lift
her head from the sieve of her hands and stare
at the minims sung by a tree, a sudden gift.

Some nights, although we are faithless, the truth
enters our hearts, that small familiar pain;
then a man will stand stock-still, hearing his youth
in the distant Latin chanting of a train.

Pray for us now. Grade 1 piano scales
console the lodger looking out across
a Midlands town. Then dusk, and someone calls
a child's name as though they named their loss.

Darkness outside. Inside the radio's prayer -
Rockall. Malin. Dogger. Finisterre

Thanks to: http://www.fp.ucalgary.ca/jwhamilt/Duffy%20Prayer.htm, for allowing me to copy it rather than type it up myself.


Coffee with Cathy said...

Thanks for this great post highlighting a talented poet. Haven't seen much about this appointment and so glad you've featured it.

Scarlet-Blue said...

Good news indeed. Has she also written a book?

PI said...

She was passed over by Blair ten years ago so it's time. I like what she said - something like 'I use simple words in a complicated way.'
Reminiscent of Eric Morecambe's 'I use all the right notes - not necessarily in the right order.'
It's late. Night night.

Eryl Shields said...

Cathy ~ you're very welcome. (I must put you on my sidebar).

Scarlet ~ she published her first in 1974 (I believe) so there are quite a few XX

Pat ~ only you could compare the poet laureate to Eric Morecambe, and yet be so right! Night night, XX

savannah said...

poetry is everywhere! i have to look for her work! xoxox

Scarlet-Blue said...

Re smoking! June would be fine! I'm a wimp too and will need to get psyched up for it!

Eryl Shields said...

Savannah ~ I know it must be the new 4 wheel drive or something, XXX

Scarlet ~ June then, OK, we should set a date and have a countdown, oh god! XXX

Kanani said...

I have a collection of Carol Ann's poems. I really love them, and it's a very good thing to have chosen her as poet laureate!

The World According To Me said...

I love the poem. Thanks for posting it.
Hope you enjoyed your glass of fizzing hope.

Leigh Russell said...

I heard Carol Ann Duffy reading that very poem aloud on the radio today. Did you hear her? I prefer reading it to hearing it, as I like to take my time and reread words.

Eryl Shields said...

Kanani ~ so she is a well travelled poet, great!

N ~ hello, how lovely to have you back! I'm still enjoying it, I like a good long celebration.

Leigh ~ I didn't hear her, and I agree, I like to read to myself and savour each word.