My first post on this blog, on 1 May, celebrated Carol Ann Duffy’s appointment as Poet Laureate. Her first poem since then has been published in today’s Guardian.

How it makes of your face a stone

that aches to weep, of your heart a fist,

clenched or thumping, sweating blood, of your tongue

an iron latch with no door. How it makes of your right hand

a gauntlet, a glove-puppet of the left, of your laugh

a dry leaf blowing in the wind, of your desert island discs

hiss hiss hiss, makes of the words on your lips dice

that can throw no six. How it takes the breath

away, the piss, makes of your kiss a dropped pound coin,

makes of your promises latin, gibberish, feedback, static,

of your hair a wig, of your gait a plankwalk. How it says this –

politics – to your education education education; shouts this –

Politics! – to your health and wealth; how it roars, to your

conscience moral compass truth, POLITICS POLITICS POLITICS.

The Guardian’s accompanying article includes words like “angry”, “bold”, “passionate”, “rage” and “disgust” to describe the poem. “Black” and “bitterly disenchanted” also come to mind.

How much more sombre and bleak this new poem is than Translating the English, a vivid social commentary on Thatcher’s Britain that Carol Ann wrote 20 years ago.

By Marian Dougan


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