Valentine and Nostalgia--Compare and Contrast

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  • Compare and Contrast 'Valentine' and 'Nostalgia'
    • Both poems explore time. Valentine dwindles on the concept of commitment, 'It's platinum loops shrink to a wedding ring, if you like. First, this is an example of enjambment; the adjective 'platinum' refers towards silver-typical of a wedding ring. The material verb, 'shrinks' relates towards the onion but time itself; there is the possibility of this relationship going further.
      • Similarly, the persona in Nostalgia refers towards time however in slight contrast, desires to return towards the past. 'opened a book to the scent of her youth, too late.' The metaphor here and gustatory scent conveys the past but the adjective, 'late' depicts that the past cannot be brought back again.
    • Both personas explores the pain of emotion. Valentine---'Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips, possessive and faithful.' The fricative sound 'fierce' and oxymoron of 'possessive and faithful'  depict that the love could be chaotic; the point of heartache--it is loyal but dominant--controlling. The 'onion' the concrete noun, Duffy's passing of a sediment of love, is her rejection of traditional gifts yet even then, it can be treacherous.
      • In Nostalgia, 'dull crude coins clenched' and 'They had an ache here, Doctor, they pined, wept, grown men. It was killing them.' The alliteration and cacophonous sound of the first declarative portrays the mental exhaustion---this poem focuses on soldiers who fight for other people's causes for money. The deixis of 'They had an ache here' refers towards heartache. Material verbs, 'pined, wept' convey the physical struggle and epistemic modality, 'it was killing them' conjoins their longing to leave and head back to the past.
    • Both poems explore 'hope' in regard towards position of time. In Nostalgia, 'in the dwindling light of the plains, a particular place'  The adjective, 'dwindling' and alliteration of euphonious 'particular place' insinuate that in this case, the past is where the persona longs to be. Their memories give them something to hold onto.
      • In Valentine, 'It is a moon wrapped in brown paper. It promises light like the careful ********** of love' Here, Duffy explores the future. The metaphor suggests delicacy and the noun, 'light' give connotations of hope towards the undying love the persona longs for. The simile following also reflects the delicate portrayal of love again and that semantic field of 'hope'.  The theme of love of here appears to make it appear as something we as people hold onto and 'hope' for.
    • Overall, both poems explore the importance of time, in Nostalgia, the persona longs for the past; the physical and mental pain of missing home. Similarly, in Valentine, there is exploration on love and how Duffy wants a love to last in the future, also bumping into the details of heartache.

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