Finding the words

I found the words at the back of a drawer,
wrapped in black cloth, like three rings
slipped from a dead woman’s hand, cold,
dull gold. I had held them before,


years ago, then put them away, forgetting whatever it was
I could use them to say. I touched the first to my lips,
like a pledge, like a kiss,


and my breath
warmed them, the words I needed to utter this, small words,
and few. I rubbed at them till they gleamed in my palm –
I love you, I love you, I love you –
as though they were new.


Carol Ann Duffy (1955 – Glasgow, UK)


From Rapture (Picador, 2005), © Carol Ann Duffy 2005


To listen to her reading this poem and others:


Picture: Belgium, Venice

Leave a Reply