28 July 2016

Poetry Thursday - The Shirt, by Carol Ann Duffy

The Shirt

Afterwards, I found him alone at the bar and asked him what went wrong. It's the shirt, he said. When I pull it on it hangs on my back like a shroud, or a poisoned jerkin from Grimm seeping its curse on to my skin, the worst tattoo.
I shower and shave before I shrug on the shirt, smell like a dream; but the shirt sours my scent with the sweat and stink of fear. It's got my number.
I poured him another shot. Speak on, my son. He did.
I've wanted to sport the shirt since I was a kid, but now when I do it makes me sick, weak, paranoid.
All night above the team hotel, the moon is the ball in a penalty kick. Tens of thousands of fierce stars are booing me. A screech owl is the referee.
The wind's a crowd, forty years long, bawling a filthy song about my Wag. It's the bloody shirt! He started to blub like a big girl's blouse and I felt a fleeting pity.
Don't cry, I said, at the end of the day you'll be back on 100K a week and playing for City.

Carol Ann Duffy

Written in 2010 in response to England's dismal World Cup performance.

In this short interview (video from 1989), she says the role of poetry is to improve the quality of life, and to make alive a lot of the areas of our lives that are suppressed.

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