I’ve been thinking about this poem lately, though it’s been almost 2 years since Mrs Perry used it as an unseen poem piece for Practical Criticism in class. I posted it on my old blog, so it feels almost like I’m rehashing material. But when I finally got round to reading it again, I was vaguely stunned (I say ‘vaguely’ because I am half-asleep). Rather than simply the empathy with the persona’s general desire for an absent someone’s presence, it’s… well. I guess this is probably how I felt the first time I read it. I remember wondering if you understood.
Writing that PC was hard.
Carol Ann Duffy
I want you and you are not here. I pause
in this garden, breathing the colour thought is
before language into still air. Even your name
is a pale ghost and, though I exhale it again
and again, it will not stay with me. Tonight
I make you up, imagine you, your movements clearer
than the words I have you say you said before.
Wherever you are now, inside my head you fix me
with a look, standing here whilst cool late light
dissolves into the earth. I have got your mouth wrong,
but still it smiles. I hold you closer, miles away,
inventing love, until the calls of nightjars
interrupt and turn what was to come, was certain,
into memory. The stars are filming us for no one.