Poetry 44: Recognition by Carol Ann Duffy


Things get away from one.
I’ve let myself go, I know.
Children? I’ve had three
and don’t even know them.

I strain to remember a time
when my body felt lighter.
Years. My face is swollen
with regrets. I put powder on,

but it flakes off. I love him,
through habit, but the proof
has evaporated. He gets upset.
I tried to do all the essentials

On one trip. Foolish, yes,
but I was weepy all morning.
Quiche. A blond boy swung me up
in his arms and promised the earth.

You see, this came back to me
as I stood on the scales.
I wept. Shallots. In the window,
creamy ladies held a pose

which left me clogged and old.
The waste. I’d forgotten my purse,
fumbled; the shopgirl gaped at me,
compassionless. Claret. I blushed.

Cheese. Kleenex. It did happen.
I lay in my slip on wet grass,
Laughing. Years. I had to rush out,
blind in a hot flush, and bumped

into an anxious, dowdy matron
who touched the cold mirror
and stared at me. Stared
and said I’m sorry sorry sorry.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

About Barry Daniel

I live in the Lake District in the UK where I run a guesthouse with my partner Kate and my cat Manuel. I enjoy painting, hillwalking, reading, visiting and entertaining friends, T’ai Chi and playing the guitar. I’m engaged to a certain degree in the local community, as a volunteer with Samaritans and I’m a fairly active member of the local Green party. I’ve had a relatively intuitive sense of the Middle Way most of my adult life but it found a greater articulation and a practical direction through joining the society. It’s also been interesting and great fun engaging with other people with a similar outlook. My main contribution to the society is conducting the podcast interviews, something that gives me a lot of satisfaction and that I’ve learnt a lot from.

One thought on “Poetry 44: Recognition by Carol Ann Duffy

  1. I think it’s a fine poem, true to experience and unadorned with any kind of ideology, no sermonising or striving to make a ponderous point about life, the universe and everything.

    I also like the way the writer’s thoughts and associations swirl and swing around: claret and cheese, Kleenex, wet grass.

    There’s not enough in the poem about the ingredients required to make quiche, but – gadzooks! – quiche has second-to- top billing and deservedly so, in my opinion.

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