Bacon on the Bookshelf

Savory picks for the free range reader

Valentine’s Day Special, Part 2: Not a Red Rose or Satin Heart


My friend’s daughter, a freshman in college, just wrote her first article for the school paper (The Crimson) – “Top Five Reads for a Vicarious Valentine’s Day.”  Allison Pao’s intriguing list includes a link to one of the best poems I’ve ever read about this silly, wonderful, aggravating, awful, hopeful day… 



By Carol Ann Duffy


Not a red rose or a satin heart.

I give you an onion.
It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.
It promises light
like the careful undressing of love.

It will blind you with tears
like a lover.
It will make your reflection
a wobbling photo of grief.

I am trying to be truthful.

Not a cute card or a kissogram.

I give you an onion.
Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips,
possessive and faithful
as we are,
for as long as we are.

Take it.
Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding ring,
if you like.
Its scent will cling to your fingers,
cling to your knife.




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From the Scottish Poetry Library:

The first female, Scottish Poet Laureate in the role’s 400 year history, Carol Ann Duffy’s combination of tenderness and toughness, humour and lyricism, unconventional attitudes and conventional forms, has won her a very wide audience of readers and listeners.

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Thank you, Victoria and Allison Pao!!

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Rose photo copyright here.

Onion photo copyright here.


  1. Thanks Jennifer for your lovely post! Allison assures me she has more serious articles coming out next week

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