Monday, February 14, 2005

Poem of the Week 2/14/2005: Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway*

"Item I gyve unto my wife my second best bed."
(from Shakespeare's will)

The bed we loved in was a spinning world
of forests, castles, torchlight, clifftops, seas
where he would dive for pearls. My lover's words
were shooting stars which fell to earth as kisses on these lips;
my body now a softer rhyme to his, now echo, now assonance; his touch
a verb dancing in the centre of a noun.
Some nights, I dreamed he'd written me, the bed
a page beneath his writer's hands. Romance
and drama played by touch, by scent, by taste.
In the other bed, the best, our guests dozed on,
dribbling their prose. My living laughing love -
I hold him in the casket of my widow's head
as he held me upon that next best bed.

Carol Ann Duffy

*Anne Hathaway was Shakespeare's wife

Happy Valentine's Day, everybody! I have known that I was going to do this poem today for a while, and I am awake now and very much wanted to send it out, so here you all go! This is one of my favorite love poems ever - it is pretty neat to give Shakespeare a love poem when he has given us so many. I feel like it gives Shakespeare a more tangible form than his poems do standing alone, because suddenly there is something to connect the love too. The reciprocity gives his words more context; they were written for somebody, those emotions existed. The way Duffy blends the lines between language and love is interesting, too. In fact, now that I look at the poem again, I see that transformation sort of runs through the poem - words and images to physical love to words again. I love, too, how in the bed, his words, and her love, Shakespeare is still alive and laughing....Anyway. I hope that your respective weeks are all wonderful, and happy valentine's day, and goodnight!



Anonymous said...

a beautiful beautiful poem

Steven Pine said...

not written from the POV of will, but of anne...