Poetry Picks: ‘Words, Wide Night’, Carol Ann Duffy

This is one of my favourite poems of all time! If you’re missing a certain someone, whether it’s a long-distance relationship or a case of unrequited love, this is the perfect poem for you.

I think I must have come across it in my high school English class as I remember studying some Duffy back then, but I’ve read it so many times over the years I can’t quite remember the first time. In fact, I love a lot of Duffy’s poems so you might see a few more pop up on Poetry Picks!

I absolutely love the exploration of language in this poem, especially the last line; ‘this is what it is like or what it is like in words.’ It perfectly sums up the way in which language can often fail to exactly express feelings like love and loss. The interesting thing about this line is that it could comfortably be used in almost any poem, whether it’s talking about love, heartbreak, a summer morning, a traumatic event or something else entirely. After all, poetry is just an attempt recreate certain feelings and moments using words – but an attempt that can never really be an exact replication.

This poem has brought me so much comfort over the years and I hope it can do the same for you. It’s short and sweet, but there’s a lot to unpick!

‘Words, Wide Night’, by Carol Ann Duffy

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.


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