Carol Ann Duffy might be familiar to you. She is, without a doubt, one of the UK’s most well-known contemporary poets (and until a few years ago, she was the Poet Laureate). Even though Duffy is known for writing poetry about many aspects of modern life (and some fantastical interpretations of fairy tales and stories from the past), she has written quite a few festive poems – and I am going to tell you about some of my favourites:
In ‘Mrs Scrooge’, Duffy explores the fictitious life of Scrooge’s wife (for those of you who know A Christmas Carol, you’ll be aware that Scrooge didn’t have a wife). In her inimitable and pitch-perfect style, the poet transports us, the engrossed readers, into a different, but somewhat familiar, world. Here, we have ‘Mrs Scrooge… googling at her desk…’ and crying out to people in the street ‘Find out how turkeys really die!’ Mrs Scrooge is, seemingly, a world apart from her deceased partner, but here we see Duffy showing us how the old can be transported to the new: a perfect upgrading of a classic tale from literature.
‘The Christmas Truce’ is quite different – here, we are in the trenches of France in one of the world’s most infamous conflicts. Duffy tells us how ‘The mood, like a medal, hung in the clear, cold sky’ and she likens ‘barbed wire…’ to ‘strange tinsel, sparkled and winked.’ If you don’t know the wonderful poetry of Carol Ann Duffy, I am sure you will marvel at her use of language – it’s just beautiful.
A very different festive offering is seen in ‘Pablo Picasso’s Noel’ where the famous artist is portrayed in an intimate, heart-warming light. In ‘Frost Fair’, London is depicted as it was in the olden days – when the Thames froze over and a ‘frost fair’ was held there. Duffy takes us back in time, to ‘a whole ox turning on a spit’. She says ‘London was snow’ – just covered, completely, in snow.
To get into the festive mood, you should read Carol Ann Duffy’s Christmas poems. They are beautifully written, insightful, and present the season in the most perfect way.