Hour by Carol Ann Duffy A* Analysis from Mr Bruff

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Carol Ann Duffy - Very popular contemporary poet, born in Glasgow 1955, Queen's poet. Currently a professor at MET University. 

Her themes - 

Mostly female perspective 


Gender stereotypes


Effect of violence


Darkness beneath the surface


Structure - 

Sonnet form - 14 lines (ending with rhyming couplet)

Rhyme scheme - ABAB (AA)

Metre - Iambic Pentameter 

The poem

Love's time's beggar, but even a single hour, bright as a dropped coin, makes love rich.

There is a metaphor here, imagining time as a passer-by like a homeless man having a passer-by dropping a coin into a homeless person's cup but here Duffy is saying the passer-by is dropping a single hour into the beggar's (AKA love's) cup. This could show love as a negative line as a beggar is not someone in the higher ranks of society. 

We find an hour together, spend it not on flowers or wine, but the whole of the summer sky and a grass ditch.

Sibilance with the 's' sounds brings softness to the words and highlights the softness of the romantic scenery of the soft grass. Flowers and wine are very stereotypical romantic items. 

An alternative interpretation of this could be that because a beggar is someone who aims to receive money on the street is the process of a 'single hour' then this could hint at the idea of prostitution. Again we see that they only have one hour and that this is restricted and timed. Duffy is talking about not spending time on wine or flowers could mean not spending time drunk. If the character can see the whole sky then this hints that she may be flat on her back in a grass ditch which s very unromantic and again highlights the fact that there may be some form of secrecy about this interaction.

For thousands of seconds, we kiss: your hair like treasure on the ground.

Sibilance here to bring softness. Here there is a simile "your hair like treasure n the ground" that implies he/she is valuable to her.

: the Midas light turning your limbs to gold.

The effect of sunlight on a summer's day. Highlights this beautifulness of a romantic encounter.

Time slows, for here we are millionaires, backhanding the night

The comma here indicates punctuation to slow our reading to emphasise the slowing she is trying to describe. The money referred to here refers to how wealthy they feel in this moment with time. 'Backhanding the night' could refer to bribing…


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