Carol Ann Duffy


Not so hot as this for a hundred years. 
You were where I was going. I was in tears. 
I surrendered my heart to the judgement of my peers.

A century’s heat in the garden, fierce as love.  
You returned on the day that I had to leave. 
I mimed the full, rich, busy life I had to live.

Hotter than hell. I burned for you day and night; 
got bits of your body wrong, bits of it right, 
in the huge mouth of the dark, in the bite of the light.

I planted a rose, burnt orange, the colour of flame,  
gave it the last of the water, gave it your name. 
It flared back at the sun in a perfect rhyme.

Then the rain came, like stammered kisses at first 
on the back of my neck. I unfurled my fist 
for the rain to caress with its lips. I turned up my face,

and water flooded my mouth, baptised my head,  
and the rainclouds gathered like midnight overhead,  
and the rain came down like a lover comes to a bed.