Saturday, May 02, 2009

Carol Ann Duffy – a muse with a mission

The news that David Cameron intends to take part in a ‘Gay Pride’ march came hard on the heels of the news that after the appointment of the first female poet laureate - Carol Ann Duffy - it transpires that she is a lesbian (though this was doubtless common knowledge to everyone except His Grace) and now plans to use her status as Royal Poet to write a poem extolling ‘gay marriage’ or civil partnership.

Cranmer’s first reaction on hearing the news of Ms Duffy’s appointment was doubtless shared by many of His Grace’s readers and communicants: the next poet laureate was to be a woman – fine, long overdue. Notwithstanding that she believes headlines of The Sun to be poetry on a par with the genius of Shakespeare.

This women is a lesbian – oh well, what she does in her own spare time is her own business. Cranmer simply does not care.

This woman wants to write a poem extolling the virtues of civil partnership – ah, she has an agenda, like most homosexuals in high office, and the agenda is to proselytise the homosexual lifestyle.

The law was changed in the 1960's to decriminalise homosexual activity. At the time, male homosexuals were a persecuted minority (lesbian activity was not against the law). The New Statesman at the time argued that the effect would be one of happily-cohabiting homosexuals quietly and privately indulging in the antics of their exotic predeliction approximately 2.7 times a week.

On reflection, it may have been preferable to have adopted the 'Nelson' approach. With ‘gay rights’ now trumping religious conscience, a hornet’s nest has been stirred up and the buzzing is no longer benign.

Mr Ultramontane Grumpy Old Catholic has brought to Cranmer’s an interesting paper entitled ‘Learning from Homosexual Activism’ by John Deigham. It explains how Stonewall has infiltrated all walks of life, and its agenda has permeated all levels of society.


Blogger Dr.D said...

The constructive, "what to do about it" part of Deigham's article is particularly good. He speaks to the issues very clearly and he is right on target. This needs much more publicity. There is no reason at all for people to thing that queers are correct and the Church is wrong. This is simply the result of the Church being entirely too timid and passive.

2 May 2009 at 17:04  
Blogger killemallletgodsortemout said...

Timid and placid. The church(es) in particular, the public in general.

Any vacancy in Essex Police that is advertised in the print media is accompanied by the Stonewall logo. When I queried this (I know, it made me laugh too), I was more or less told to bugger off, and that it had nothing to do with me.

It seems that homosexuals are now sacrosanct.

2 May 2009 at 17:51  
Blogger McKenzie said...

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2 May 2009 at 18:04  
Anonymous Ben Doover and Phill McKrevis said...

How many Lesbians does it take to change a light bulb?

Two, one to put it in and one to write a folk song about it.

2 May 2009 at 18:46  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

Your Grace

The experience of Christians in Canada indicates where society in this country is going.

According to Catholic on-line

the catholic magazine Catholic Insight has expended $20K CAD so far in defending itself against a claims by a homosexual activist.

The complaint is made up of a series of brief quotations, without citation or context, which the complainant pulled from articles purportedly appearing on Catholic Insight's website.

15 months after the complaint was filed, the CI is still awaiting a ruling from the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Meanwhile the complainant has had all his legal fees paid for by the taxpayer.

In another case, Steve Boissoin, an Alberta pastor was hauled before a human rights commission for having written a letter to the editor in a local newspaper defending Christian teaching on homosexuality. Boissoin was ordered to apologize to the complainant in his case, to pay him a significant sum of money, and to never speak or write about homosexuality again.

In Parliament this year (24th March), the vote to keep free speech was lost by 328 votes to 174 in the House of Commons with the vote being whipped rather than a free vote. The clause was initially proposed by Lord Waddington, as part of last year’s Criminal Justice and Immigration Act, in an attempt to permit legitimate discussion of sexual practice. (See Christian concern for our nation report and information pack on )
Without it those wishing to express legitimate and biblical views about sexual practice could face frightening police investigation for an offence that may carry up to seven years in prison.

The homosexuals must be rubbing their hands with glee if mischievous complaints can elicit significant payouts.

The other point to note is that even if a complaint is subsequently adjudged to be unfounded, the uncertainty faced by the accused over many months will enusure that only the bravest will stick their neck above the parapet again.

The bill goes back to the Lords for its 2nd reading on the 18th May.

2 May 2009 at 18:59  
Blogger Witterings From Witney said...

Your Grace would appear to have also missed another first (unless I have missed it).

Like most other appointments by this apology for a government - Carol Ann Duffy is a Scot - another one!

2 May 2009 at 19:02  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Witterings from Witney,

God forbid that His Grace should mention the fact, lest he be accused of being racist.

2 May 2009 at 19:28  
Anonymous Divide and ConqEUr said...

Qui Bono.

As society becomes more fragmented, anarchy will start to rear its ugly head, thank god we have the civil contingencies bill and 5000 Fully armed Paramilitaries waiting in the wings.

We are so lucky to have a Govt that thinks of everything in advance.

2 May 2009 at 19:54  
Anonymous non mouse said...

For starters - the post at 18:46 is crude, vulgar, and offensive.
Just because that's how queers are, is no reason for the rest of us to follow suit.

Next - another characteristic - they're aggressive. They always have been; and now they're liberated we can only expect more of the same. Used to be that if a someone at, say, an all-girls school, went home and told her parents about the strange, unfair, inappropriate behaviour of a teacher (female by definition), the parents could protect the child. If they recognized the activity as lesbian (favoritisim; victimization; harassment; making everybody run round in shared showers with no clothes on [and don't think they weren't verbal with it!], etc) the parents could object to other parents, the head and/or the school board. And the lezzos had to pull back - especially if a couple of them were co-habiting and well known for their proclivities.

Lesbians are horrible - and I say so because I've witnessed their behaviour as they tried to make converts. They go for young girls who, they think, are too innocent and unprotected to see, escape, and tell; or, alternatively, who might escape and work against them.
Sometimes they assume that the young have already been damaged - as they themselves probably had been at the same age.

So now they're out in high office and parading about all over the media - and we can't protect our children anywhere in the public sphere.

wv: which - no I'm not!!!

2 May 2009 at 20:01  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Yes, why does the Scottish WWF need a Stonewall representative on its board ?

Actually I find the notion of a Poet Laureate bemusing - I know John Masefield was especially gifted, but who takes the position seriously nowadays ?

2 May 2009 at 20:04  
Anonymous An Erstwhile Literary Person said...

A Lez for Poet/ess Laureate? What do you expect? I mean - given the Franco-German state of Letters and Filosofy? [It got a lot like this in Jacobean times, too - more euro hegemony...]

Except for Shakespeare, (or 'Beware the Cat'!), I don't read anything much written after 1400 - and yes, sometimes I skip bits there!

As for what they call poetry nowadays --- well, I don't see any. I took to walking out of readings, because they were pornography, and got slated for being rude...

Now Shakespeare could be less than saintly - but he did have substance, superlative skill, deep understanding of English Language, and wide General Knowledge. And he did provide decent people with some decent places to go: we don't have to follow the stench. To the pure, as it were, ...

The post-moderns and deconstructionists offer no such freedom. Like their Marxist other halves, they force conformity on all groundlings and students, whose faces they grind into the filth. Indeed, I suspect we could learn much by researching what proportion of said 'filosofers' and their master-models are male homosexuals, lesbians, or bi-sexuals.

2 May 2009 at 20:48  
Anonymous Preacher said...

I'm afraid that what we are witnessing is the fall of a decadent & decaying society, like many before, when hedonistic desire & self interest become the driving force & humanity turns its back on Gods laws the inevitable result is the (often) sudden fall of that society, sadly the righteous also suffer along with the guilty.
In the last two decades we have seen the growth of militant homosexual groups, abortion viewed as a form of contraception, sex education in schools starting from primary age, morning after pills available without parental knowledge, widespread drug & alcohol abuse by the young, stabbings & shootings, a figurehead government that has betrayed the electorate & sold us out to European dictatorship without even a promised referendum, economic disaster, etc, etc, I'll let you fill in your own blanks about Christian free speech erosion etc.
The fact is, we are ripe for disaster, what form it will take I do not know, I'm really just trying to give a warning, if you are undecided about trusting the God who has spent time writing to warn you of this time , the God, who became man & died to save you from the consequences of sin, the God who promises you a future for eternity, think seriously about these things & act accordingly.

2 May 2009 at 20:59  
Blogger McKenzie said...

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2 May 2009 at 21:03  
Anonymous len said...

" For the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the Law of sin and death."
( Romans 8:2)

This is the Gospel( good news) of Jesus Christ,who came that we might be set free from this corrupt dying world.

2 May 2009 at 21:44  
Blogger McKenzie said...

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2 May 2009 at 21:49  
Blogger Dick the Prick said...

Dear Mr None Mouse

The steeple seems fine although the kitchen less so. You gave fine words upon emancipation, as did His Grace, but the wisdom of quiet, personal reflection and hobby precludes. Not all dyke's are the same - I reckon lezzers can do it for politics rather than affection but who the hell wants to look at a naked bloke?

Lest we forget this week - Iraq.

Ayo Gurkhari

2 May 2009 at 21:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cranmer do you know what you "sound" like? A bitter, sad, curmudgeonly, dull, wicked, boring, evil, reactionary old fart. Times have changed - the 1950's are not coming back.

2 May 2009 at 22:17  
Blogger McKenzie said...

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2 May 2009 at 22:35  
Blogger McKenzie said...

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2 May 2009 at 22:38  
Blogger Microcosm said...

I am not sure a True blue will ever understand the sacrfice. My respect to all those who lost family.

2 May 2009 at 22:49  
Blogger Morus said...

Sorry Your Grace, but for all the conspiracies about her being given the job for being a Scot/Leftie/Lesbian, the fact is that she got it for being a good poet.

I can't think of a poet worth his or her salt who led a life that would please the devout, and fewer still who didn't write poetry designed to infuriate the conservative mind. I can't think of a single poet whom I would trust with a policy job in government. But that's not what poet laureate is for - the job goes to the best British poet available.

In the absence of Tony Harrison, I would accept that Carol Ann Duffy is probably one of our best living poets, and a significant improvement on Andrew Motion. Her sexuality, politics and nationality are (in this case) irrelevant.

2 May 2009 at 23:01  
Blogger Hugh Oxford said...

The appointment of this woman symbolises everything there is to symbolise about this administration. It's a political appointment to a non-political job, an ideological assault on what should be a non-ideological space, and, of course, an attempt to impose an agenda on the British people, rather than reflect their will.

A socialist, homosexual, feminist, politically active, crypto-republican Scottish woman, installed as poet laureate. Who on earth does she speak to? Who can she possibly speak for?

I await the tender, warm, patriotic, human, funny, Christian verse of the kind that Betjeman served us so loyally with with 'bated breath.

How far this nation has fallen.

2 May 2009 at 23:20  
Blogger Hugh Oxford said...

15 months after the complaint was filed, the CI is still awaiting a ruling from the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Meanwhile the complainant has had all his legal fees paid for by the taxpayer.Ah Canada. As Ezra Levant has pointed out - even if you win, you lose.

2 May 2009 at 23:22  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

Hugh Oxford
Interesting videos. Thanks. Ezra Levant also makes the point that the process is the punishment.

2 May 2009 at 23:46  
Blogger Gnostic said...

I've read some of Duffy's work and it's nothing to write home about. I've seen better written by amateurs and published on the web. There are more talented poets around but then, we are dealing with the people who appointed the dire Motion. Talent has absolutely nothing to do with the appointment. Former Laureates like Hughes and Betjeman must be spinning in their graves. Or laughing their socks off...

2 May 2009 at 23:49  
Anonymous no nonny said...

Yes. We're dealing with the people who pay the publishers and the politicians to promote the stuff with which they are determined to replace our true literary heritage. And that heritage is at least as great as anybody's. Many of us think it's aeons ahead of the others.

However, the not-a-bit-new gubbins is supposed to be powerful because it's limited to communism - and feminism, and S&V-ism, and political correctism, euSSR multicultism, and ....

Oh, Please!! I'm off to read Cranmer's Prayerbook!!!!

3 May 2009 at 00:13  
Anonymous egh said...

Does it strike anyone else that the attack on British culture intensifies even as we articulate the nature of that attack? Even as more and more people diagnose and repel the attack?

An ideological blitzkrieg?

Deo Gratias for Cranmer - leading us in the vanguard of the counter-attack!!!

3 May 2009 at 00:25  
Blogger McKenzie said...

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3 May 2009 at 01:02  
Blogger Theresa said...

Hate to be pedantic guys, Carol Ann Duffy is actually bi-sexual. She has a daughter called Ella, although she is presently staying with a female partner.

She is actually a very good poet; heads and shoulders above Andrew Motion. Here's her best known poem. Judge for yourselves.

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 minims1 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. 2 Grade I 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

3 May 2009 at 02:47  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Times have changedThe Defence of the Status-Quo throughout the ages

3 May 2009 at 06:30  
Anonymous An Erstwhile Literary Person said...

Well - if someone can explain to me why that's laureate level poetry, I'd be glad to learn. I'm proud to be the world's number one dunce and philistine when it comes to what the moderns think is poetry. Certainly, I've no idea what this one's about, myself; but suspect there's something unpleasant in the woodshed. And, pace Stella Gibbons, I'm very glad it can't see me.

As to prayer - at our church we have a wonderful spiritual director who encourages us, in little groups or classes, to write our own prayers. I found it difficult, at first, having always relied on the set prayers, especially the Pater Noster. But I joined in, much to my own enlightenment; and I also believe that some of the efforts people produce are quite beautiful.

3 May 2009 at 07:43  
Blogger Dissenter said...

I seem to recall that Ted Hughes was a serial adulterer, while John
Betjeman was said to have had 'exotic' experiences at university. I have several of their books of poetry and enjoy many of them.

I haven't read any of Duffy's poetry, although I did hear the one quoted above on the radio last week. I've heard better, but also worse.

The New Testament as far as I can see does not distinguish much, if at all, between heterosexual adultery and homosexual acts. The term 'sodomy' should in my view be avoided, since as we read in Ezekiel ch 16 vs 48-49 the sin of Sodom was pride, surfeit of food and prosperous ease while doing nothing to aid the poor and needy. So let Christians be careful not to selectively condemn sins we are not personally tempted to. One finger pointing, three pointing back.

The only answer to poetry with a secular humanist agenda is for Christian poets to come forward and write effectively. There is much to be written.

3 May 2009 at 08:43  
Blogger McKenzie said...

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3 May 2009 at 10:37  
OpenID jamestheless said...


"The term 'sodomy' should in my view be avoided, since as we read in Ezekiel ch 16 vs 48-49 the sin of Sodom was pride, surfeit of food and prosperous ease while doing nothing to aid the poor and needy."

However, we then read in Ezekiel ch 16 v 50 that they were haughty and committed "abomination" before the Lord. Genesis ch 19 v 5 is where the association between Sodom and homosexuality came from.

Of course, the real sin of the Sodomites was that they refused to walk in the ways of the Lord and followed their own ways. All their other sins were a consequence of that. I think this is what the "pride" in Ezekiel refers to.

I fully agree with your points about selective condemnation (and the need for Christian poets). If the Church had condemned adultery consistently and effectively, giving a coherent and convincing explanation why it is wrong, and behaved as though it believed it, it would be in a much stronger position today.

3 May 2009 at 12:36  
OpenID jamestheless said...


Thank you for the Ned Flanders article (just in case you're feeling neglected again).

I found an article linked from it, Evaluating Benedict, in which four Roman Catholic commentators give their opinions on the Pope's first four years. The following observation appears in "Have your say":

"So Stephen Wall was an advisor to Cardinal Cormac Murphy? Now I understand a great deal that puzzled me before."

(word verification: latios)

3 May 2009 at 12:49  
Blogger Dissenter said...

Thanks James, of course you are right. I did however want to compare and contrast criticism of a lesbian laureate's sexual activities with the equally unbiblical practices of male heterosexual former laureates (well, Hughes anyway).

Billy Graham said that if God was to refrain from judging Europe and the USA, He would have to apologise to Sodom and Gommorrah, and not just re sexual sins but the 'pride, surfeit of food and prosperous ease while not helping the poor and needy' issues.


3 May 2009 at 13:44  
Blogger The Tin Drummer said...

Ted Hughes's love life wasn't just varied, but tragic too, of course.

Duffy is good ( "Stealing" is my favourite of her poems) but the bunch as a whole isn't great. I'd have gone for Geoffrey Hill but I think the consensus was that he was too difficult.

3 May 2009 at 16:32  
Blogger Theresa said...


If you guys think you can write better, then do it.

3 May 2009 at 21:40  
Blogger McKenzie said...

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3 May 2009 at 23:07  
Anonymous Dave J. said...

There once was a man from Nantucket...

I believe the rest more or less writes itself. ;-)

4 May 2009 at 03:05  
Anonymous An Erstwhile Literary Person said...

Since none of the pundits who pronounce on the 'goodness' or 'badness' of poetry will explain the basis of their judgements, I analysed this poem for myself. Perhaps they'll now jump all over me to say why I'm wrong and they're right!!! :))

My next post represents only a first run through 'Prayer,' of course: it's what I call a 'Response.' And it certainly remains for the the experts to contextualise the piece, relate it to Duffy's life, or their own lives; or to focus it according to their philosophies; or what they will. I shan't be returning to it, however.

I will, though, return to Old and Middle English, and the likes of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Tennyson, or Betjeman; and to prose writers like Austen, the Brontes, Dickens, and several other Victorians. Their work has life, substance, and interest.

I don't have to do better than Duffy, Theresa, in order to appreciate writers. In fact, I decided not to be a writer some years ago - not because I couldn't, but because I didn't want to. I especially didn't want to in light of present-day tastes.

4 May 2009 at 04:06  
Anonymous An Erstwhile Literary Person said...

A Response to "Prayer."

At first the introductory 'we' and 'us' seems patronising: like a nurse's 'how are 'we' today'? I could pray and invite Duffy to pray also, or to go away...

But by Stanza 3 I see Duffy's' invoking prayers for 'us' - Too busy manipulating the reader with 'poetry' to humble herself in prayer?

Mechanics -----
Rhyme: is imperfect, or dependent on some accent: prayer/stare/Finisterre; scales/calls.

Metre: is irregular - the syllable count per line ranging between 10 and 12 syllables. I haven't analyzed it into feet, but it doesn't read smoothly...

Comment ----Such characteristics can indicate a fractured mind/heart behind the message.

Rhythm: confirms the above perception, disrupting the flow where enjambement leads sentences to end mid-line as caesuras.

Comment ---- So it's about fragmentation, disruption and concomitant Misery.

Structure: echoes that dynamic - three stanzas depict three separate states, respectively: female (day), male (night), and child (dusk/half-light; appears at half-stanza, also). Fourth is a half-stanza - a fragmented voice in the darkness, speaking the mechanical routine of the weather report (What the report actually is ... reader decide).

Antithesis or paradox at Stanza 1: People pray; orisons don't. Comment ----Reference to the innate belief of the unbeliever?
Paradox also at Stanza 2: the faithless have truth in their hearts, and it hurts (but not much).
Comment---Use of 'faithless' in light of inability to pray reinforces ambiguity of both 'faith' and 'truth.'

Prosopopeia: at Stanzas 1 (tree sings), 2 (train chants) 3 (piano scales console)but arrangement is
inverted - the prosopoeia here is first, not last -and then an anonymous human voice emerges; 4(radio tells future - weather).

Imagery: Sieve-hands; why?
Comment----Very unclear. Maybe about tears - but separating what out of them? Money? Cookery? Is it traditional imagery of purification or God's Judgement? - for the prayerless? Salt to wash her face with? Reader, do-it-yourself!

'Stand stock still' image emphasizes something - all that alliteration.
Comment--- Caveat Lector! Could link tree and train imagery (via stock cars). What the Latin's doing, only Duffy knows. Male and Paternalistic principles?

Comment---Constant - and works in contradistinction to the broken rhythm of the poem itself; thus sets up tension and coldness.
It's very impersonal (anonymous) and mechanical throughout- :from 'minims' to scales, the train sounds and chanting, the mechanical routine of the Weather Report, and maybe even memorized prayers.

'Pray for us now' {=Ora pro nobis [peccadoribus]}-
Possible interpretations----invoking BVM?- Ave Maria... a virga (branch) of the tree? A mechanical prayer? To a Tree Goddess?
Presumably the piano scales echo some sort of memory for Misery (or Duffy?) - because they are irritating, boring, and unimaginatively repetitive to some people!
The 'nameless' 'named' child is an object - and invokes sympathy for the losing parent rather than the little one lost (Ah, Blake - I left you off my list!!!). Still, the antithesis of 'someone/they-their' might suggest that both parents and child have lost something.

So, you see, all my hard work suggests that, on a simple level, the poem probably is about the break-up of a marriage and family. That's why he and she are off in their own worlds, and the child is out in the cold.

The disruption doesn't touch the cold, repetitive mechanical operation of Midlands England (?the heart of England?)- except maybe for the tree (???image of?... Some female Principle? neuLabour?).

So I say Duffy knows about mechanics in poetry. And she has a message that may relate to her personal experience and anger (given the bio from Theresa). But she makes the reader work too hard for too little return.

Poet Laureate of England? Derridas Go Home!!!!!

4 May 2009 at 04:52  
Blogger McKenzie said...

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4 May 2009 at 09:59  
Anonymous len said...

I think it must be a very small section of society who even understands what poetry is about (and the purpose of it)
A bit like latin I suppose.
If you want to communicate something why not just say it in a language everyone understands?

4 May 2009 at 10:08  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Oh, Mr Len,

Vast sections of the Holy Bible are written in the most sublime poetry. Why not make your complaint to the Lord?

4 May 2009 at 10:15  
Anonymous LEN said...

I suppose you refer to the psalms your grace, eminently readable and understandable( unless your bible is in Latin)

4 May 2009 at 10:22  
Blogger McKenzie said...

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4 May 2009 at 10:30  
Anonymous len said...

Mckenzie Apparently trains speak latin( see poem)

4 May 2009 at 11:36  
Blogger McKenzie said...

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4 May 2009 at 12:04  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

My favourite poet is Charles Causely, sadly no longer with us but he wrote poems that everyone could relate to.

Eden Rock

They are waiting for me somewhere beyond Eden Rock:
My father, twenty-five, in the same suit
Of Genuine Irish Tweed, his terrier Jack
Still two years old and trembling at his feet.

My mother, twenty-three, in a sprigged dress
Drawn at the waist, ribbon in her straw hat,
Has spread the stiff white cloth over the grass.
Her hair, the colour of wheat, takes on the light.

She pours tea from a Thermos, the milk straight
From an old H.P. sauce-bottle, a screw
Of paper for a cork; slowly sets out
The same three plates, the tin cups painted blue.

The sky whitens as if lit by three suns.
My mother shades her eyes and looks my way
Over the drifted stream. My father spins
A stone along the water. Leisurely,
They beckon to me from the other bank.
I hear them call, 'See where the stream-path is!
Crossing is not as hard as you might think.'

I had not thought that it would be like this.

4 May 2009 at 12:33  
Anonymous Don't Pick Your Nose Darling said...

A great poem grumpy one.

It reminds me of some of my own profound memories. It serves as a reminder to me about taking kids at face value and saying devastatingly superficial things to them when they could be in there molding the fabric of the universe itself.

4 May 2009 at 13:48  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

Ah yes. I think we all have memories like that..

4 May 2009 at 15:09  
Blogger Theresa said...

Oh dear God, I wish I'd never opened my mouth..

However as I have and I can't put the genie back in the bottle, let me answer Esrswhile Literary Person;

The poem is a sonnet. Look at the rhyme.

Sieve hands- a sieve is a round container with holes. Cupped hands on your face could therefore be described as a sieve.

Latin chanting; when I was at school we had to chant as follows; 'amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant'. It has a wee rhythm rather like wheels going round.

The theme of the poem? It's about moments of grace. Those moments when you're thinking of nothing and God touches you. Do you not see it? That's why I'm so reluctant to critisise Carol Ann Duffy; there is something she understands of God. He often chooses to write straight with crooked lines and much as I would be censorious of Duffy's lifestyle, there is something of God in this poem. That's why I put it here.

McKenzie- that was a very good effort. Keep going.

Right, now that I've raised the gale I think I will hasten to harbour..

4 May 2009 at 16:34  
Anonymous len said...

If by Rudyard Kipling,
Now there`s a poem !
Makes sense too!

4 May 2009 at 18:14  
Anonymous Erstwhile Literary Person said...

Theresa - But thank you for posting the poem and livening up the strand! You gave our discussion substance, too.

I also appreciate your comments on the sonnet (indeed it is). My response moved too quickly onto function rather than form. But the relationship between the two signifies, and I still read the final couplet as something technically confining ('correct') -but simultaneously fractured.

These things rattle about in my head: and so I also wonder about 'Finisterre' (Latin: Finis Terrae) and thus about the relationship between 'Mid-lands and Land's End (or ?End of the Earth).

Actually, I notice that Duffy's Dogger Bank and Rockall are sites of some contention, even Battles. Maybe Malin too, I don't know - but those weather stations are off the coasts of E. Britain/England, W. Scotland, and Ireland. And Finisterre? -well - off the west coast (pre-2002, it's now Fitzroy).

Yes, I can see God at work there: that's where my faith/truth and innate belief of the unbeliever come in. Now I even have a glint of Final Things!

Yes, too, I like your perception of 'moments of grace' - such is the 'gift' from the tree - but as to the cause of their striking... she leaves it to us, doesn't she?

For interpretations like that, I enjoyed the contributions from McKenzie and the others -.

Perhaps Duffy's obscurity and ambiguity are calculated to elicit such freedom of response ... But I still value poets who have, in addition, something clearer to say.

All Best.

5 May 2009 at 05:47  
Blogger McKenzie said...

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5 May 2009 at 09:58  
Blogger Sally D said...

I like poetry and Duffy's looks OK. I enjoyed the homely, close-to-experience feel of that poem and look forward to reading more of her work. It doesn't have to be the best or most complex poetry in the world, as long as enough people can respond to it; and it sounds as if she's interested in teaching more openness to the poetry present but not always noticed in everyday language and life. That makes her a true heir of the once-famous Bards of Britain!

I even agree with her about Sun headlines (which doesn't mean I like the news copy). But for those who love the artistry of words, satire, and of course puns, headlines have it all in delicious morsels; and the Sun has dished up the very best for decades. For instance, on Michael Jackson arriving late and in disarray at his trial: "Bananas in Pyjamas". Or, "How do you solve a problem like Korea?". On George Michael's arrest in the US: "Zip me up before you go go!" And so on. Maybe other commenters would like to share their favourite headline moments (judging by the political climate of this Blog, Sun readers should be plentiful here).

I read recently that Andrew Motion had enough of being Poet Laureate - it's not much fun writing poetry to order, apparently. Seems likely that quite a few professional poets might turn down the honour rather than compromise their artistic output with raps for Prince William's birthday, etc. So perhaps we should just be grateful that someone interesting has agreed to take the post, and leave it to the Press to roast her if she can't do the job.

7 May 2009 at 17:15  
Blogger Sam Tarran said...

I think a lot of people have just missed the point that she is a terrible poet. Sorry, Sally D, but she is. There's nothing very inventive about any of her poetry, and nothing particularly interesting either. Her metaphors are bland, and her failure to use rhyming structures and suchlike lost its originality decades ago. The vast majority of her poems are just attacks of men. Not "patriarchal society", or "chauvinism", just men as a gender.

She's just another one of the rollcall of angry left-wing poets writing tiresome polemnics. Unoriginal, not particularly talented, and boring.

19 May 2009 at 16:17  
Anonymous Alima Bell said...

Carol Ann Duffy is amazing. Great! With the choice of Carol Ann Duffy, the post held by such poets as Dryden, Tennyson, Wordsworth and Ted Hughes went to a woman for the first time. Congratulations! I have noticed smpugh, that you have not congratulated either Her Majesty or Duffy on this Yes I did - see second in thread. thank you for sharing your post.

6 August 2009 at 12:45  

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