Tuesday, February 14, 2006


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.
Carol Ann Duffy


Fashionasia said...

Happy Valentines day to you too!!
Onion is nice...garlic is even better!!!

lil ms d said...

bah humbug >:(

bibliobibuli said...

fashioninasia - you know that both onions and garlic are to stimulate the senses and cause unwated sexual desires (by the strictest indian vegatarians who won't have them in their diet) ...

lil ms d - wouldn't have expected anything else from you ...

dreamer idiot said...

What an refreshingly un-romantic poem on our much commercialised, sugar-coated Valentines! Instead of schmaltzy sweetness, one offers a sharply pungent bite into the reality of love (onions have some sweetness), the tears in the slow, unpeeling and unfoldind process of lov-ing, guardedly holding out for a love that might be and that one day may be realised into marriage. This poem captures the tentativeness of modern love which people still desperately cling on to, but tempered with a knowingness of the sharp tears and the knife that hangs over the heart...and the onion metaphor in its ordinariness contrasts as an alternative to the chocolates and candy.

Thanks Sharon. :)

FBT said...

I used to work for Anvil Press, who first published Carol Ann Duffy, and we once went on a reading festival trip with her to Ireland. She was with her girlfriend, Jackie Kay. I found her quite frightening. But then I find most people rather alarming.

bibliobibuli said...

dreamer idiot - and the poem gets unwrapped layer by layer like an onion!

fbt - can't believe you find most people alarming! my goodness, you knew her. please tell the full story!!

Spot said...

wow. i like!

btw, how do i sign up for your MPH classes? read about it at Yvonne Foong's blog.

bibliobibuli said...

had already saved you a place anyway and i've sent you an e-mail.

haven't made any official announcement yet - still getting myself organised.

Anonymous said...

Love is like an onion, you spend all your time peeling it, only to discover that it stinks and makes you cry a lot ? :)

bibliobibuli said...

you could certainly interpret it that way ... it fits, doesn't it?

Mag said...

This one made me smile!

Anonymous said...

yup it fits.. but the onions here are reddish.