Valentine by Carol Ann Duffy

Valentine by Carol Ann Duffy
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.

The onion is a metaphor, obviously, so it’s a great poem for doing metaphor practice. Peeling off the layers…. the name for the outer one is skin……onions can make you cry…… onions are at the heart of many recipes, even though the ingredient which is foregrounded is very often something else – beef, chicken, etc, but nevertheless, it’s the humble onion which comes up time and again as an essential. Oh, and when you slice it, you get, hey presto, rings! And better still, they’re wedding white.

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