“Stone Love (for Tracey Emin)”: a poem by Carol Ann Duffy

“My hand on what I take from time and this world / and the stone’s shadow there on the grass with mine.”

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I married a tall, dark, handsome stone
in its lichen suit; secret, sacred, the ceremony
above the sea; where the stone had stood
for a million years, stoic, bridegroom,
till I came at last to the wedding-day.
Gulls laughed in a blue marquee of air.

Shroud for a dress, barefoot, me, my vows
my business and the stone’s; but should you ever
press your face to a stone’s cold, old, still, breast,
you’ll find the words which wed me there
to the silence of stone, till death . . . slow art
of stone, staunchness of stone . . . do us part.

My hand on what I take from time and this world
and the stone’s shadow there on the grass with mine.

Carol Ann Duffy is the Poet Laureate.

This article appears in the 09 June 2016 issue of the New Statesman, A special issue on Britain in Europe

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