Words, Wide Night
Somewhere on the other side of this wide night
and the distance between us, I am thinking of you.
The room is turning slowly away from the moon.
This is pleasurable. Or shall I cross that out and say
it is sad? In one of the tenses I singing
an impossible song of desire that you cannot hear.
La lala la. See? I close my eyes and imagine the dark hills I would have to cross
to reach you. For I am in love with you
and this is what it is like or what it is like in words.
Carol Ann Duffy (born 1955)
I'm a little behind the curve here, but Carol Ann Duffy was on the first day of this month chosen to be the Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. She is the first woman and the first Scot to hold the title, and only the second (Thomas Shadwell was the first) whose predecessor did not die in office. (Andrew Motion accepted the appointment in 1999 with the stipulation that he would serve only ten years in the post; Shadwell's predecessor, John Dryden, was removed from office when he refused to take an oath of allegiance to the new government after James II was deposed.)
She is also the first openly bisexual person so honored. I bring up the latter only to have an excuse to link to a silly post by John Derbyshire of National Review Online noting that with Duffy's appointment, the Poets Laureate of both the UK and the United States (Kay Ryan) are middle-aged lesbians. (See also this post by Isaac Chotiner of TNR Online for further reporting on Derbyshire's "scoop.") I regret I am unable to provide any information concerning the sexual preferences of Motion or Ryan's predecessor, Charles Simic.