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“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.”

By Carol Ann Duffy

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.

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This article appears in the 07 Jun 2016 issue of the New Statesman, A special issue on Britain in Europe