Hour

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  • Hour
    • Themes
      • Love
        • The traditional battle of love versus time is boldly presented in the poem: "Time hates love". The poem questions the assumption that time will triumph, forcing a separation. Instead "love spins gold, gold, gold from straw". Links to fairy-tale Rumpelstiltskin. It is an image that sums up the key theme: love can find riches in anything - "straw" or even "a grass ditch".
        • An idea of love being poor but creating many treasures.
      • Time
        • Implies that the time spent with your loved one is worth more than all the wealth/possessions in the world.
        • The pleasure and riches that the couple gather in an hour allow them to feel as if they are frozen in time: "Time slows, for here/we are millionaires, backhanding the night". The hour spent together in the golden light gives them a sense of power, making them feel as if they can bribe the darkness to hold back, giving the lovers immense joy and wealth.
      • Wish/desires
    • Language Features
      • "Flowers and wine" replaced by "a grass ditch" improbable romantic location, distracted by the thought of it due to "the whole of the summer sky"
      • "Midas light" Mythical King who turned things into gold - links back to the fact wealth isn't necessary.
      • "For thousands of seconds we kiss" is a striking phrase, offering the idea of excess - "thousands" - with the limitation of available time, measured in seconds. This precise measurement indicates how precious time is to the speaker, a "treasure" to be carefully counted.
      • Antithesis:There is a contrast between images traditionally seen as romantic (or associated with wealth) and the ordinary: "Flowers" and "grass ditch" compare to a "jewel" and "cuckoo spit" (insect eggs left on long grass); "sunlight" contrasts with a "chandelier"; "gold" contrasts with "straw". These contrasts emphasise the romance of the lovers' time together. Traditional ideas are shown to be unimportant compared to the personal experience of the two characters.
      • Imagery: Hour also makes frequent references to images of light in contrast to the night and the darkness of inevitable separation. These include: "Bright", "summer sky", "Midas light", "shining hour", "candle", "chandelier or spotlight". Duffy uses light to suggest a positive, warm, optimistic liaison. Rather than dwelling on the darkness of separation the lovers make the most of the time they have together.
    • Content: One hour spent with lover outdoors in the summer, addresses intensity of love and it's relationship to time.
    • Similarities: Sonnet 116 (length and rhyme scheme but broken into 4 stanza's) To His Coy Mistress, Born Yesterday
    • Links to Sonnet 116, In Paris With You and To His Coy Mistress

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