Duffy-Disgrace Essay

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Yesterday I explored AQA’s Anthology poem Quickdraw from Carol Ann Duffy’s Rapturecollection. I did express my disappointment with that poem and perhaps its rather self conscious contrivance.The row didn’t convince as it is usurped by the manipulations of cowboy mythology. This poem however is direct and bleak. You can feel the emotional chill, the spreading disease of antipathy and sterility. The words are the most sabotaged of all; diminished by dislike and discontent. Even the fridge joins in the conspiracy, supporting the hostility and inner loathing. The irony of the verb ‘awoke’ gives powerful expression to the recognition of finality, it suggests that being awake to your life brings pain with the revelation. Recognition has a price, once admitted to full consciouness, there is no retreat, no grace. But one day we woke to our disgrace; our house a coldness of rooms, each nursing a thickening cyst of dust and gloom. We had not been home in our hearts for months. And how our words changed. Dead flies in a web. How they stiffened and blackened. Cherished italics suddenly sour on our tongues, obscenities spraying themselves on the wall in my head. Woke to your clothes like a corpse on the floor, the small deaths of lightbulbs pining all day in my ears, their echoes audible tears; nothing we would not do to make it worse and worse. Into the night with the wrong language, waving and pointing, the shadows of hands huge in the bedroom. Dreamed of a naked crawl from a dead place over the other; both of us. Woke. Woke to an absence of grace; the still-life of a meal, untouched, wine-bottle, empty, ashtray, full. In our sullen kitchen, the fridge hardened its cool heart, selfish as art, hummed. To a bowl of apples rotten to the core. Lame shoes empty in the hall where our voices asked for a message after the tone, the telephone

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