Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘Rapture’ is a collection of poems, which express different views of love. Each of the poems have different meanings and are carefully constructed by the poet. She uses different themes in her poetry such as tea and grief, to illustrate Carol Ann Duffy’s point that many objects can be linked with love. ‘Art’ is one of many poems from Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘Rapture’. In the poem, a person is speaking to their lover. The tone throughout the poem is depressing. It contains no positive thoughts on the topic of love and relationships.
The person reminisces the love she/he had for her/his lover. The poem comes to a climax towards the end, this signifies the end of their relationship. The poem is set out as three stanzas containing four lines and a forth stanza, which is in fact a rhyming couplet. It is in sonnet form as it has fourteen lines, this is common for Shakespeare. Shakespeare also wrote romantic poetry so this reinforces the fact that this poem is a traditional poet focusing on the topic of love. The rhyming couplet at the end gives it a more light-hearted feel and sounds rather dramatic and cynical.
Words That Rhyme With Rapture
Each of the verses has the same pattern. She uses enjambment throughout the stanzas. This creates movement and excitement, as the metre is irregular. Duffy uses an informal tone to introduce the poem. This is evident in her first phrase ‘only art now’. The word ‘only’ in the phrase suggests art was once more significant, but is now not important so is a contradictory phrase. Art would normally be worth money and would have a high cultural value but to say ‘only art now’ suggests that art is a negative thing.
The phrase also introduces the main theme of the poem, Duffy uses extends the metaphor: ‘our bodies, brushstroke, pigment, motif’. It is implied that the physical aspect of their relationship was a significant part to it. Brushstroke and pigment being the essentials in a painting and motifs are the repeated ideas key to the meaning of the work of art, this relating to their relationship. Carol Ann Duffy describes the lovers’ story as a ‘figment’ and ‘suspension of disbelief’. This indicates that the relationship seems unreal and non-existent, similar to that of a work of literature.
This could also imply that their relationship was fragile and it could be suggested that the relationship was always doomed. The phrase ‘suspension of disbelief’ was thought of by the poet and philosopher, Samuel Taylor Coleridge to illustrate the use of non-realistic elements in literature. The thrum of their blood is referred to as ‘percussion’, literally this suggests a thumping heartbeat. But as the word ‘percussion’ has connotations of drama and passion, the poet could also be referring to a great work of art. On the other hand, it could refer to the relationships and the collisions within it.
Duffy begins to refer to something as ‘minor’. Through using the word ‘minor’, Duffy may be referring to the minor key in music, which sounds sad, although on the other hand, she may be referring to ‘minor’ as ‘unimportant’. Duffy has previously made reference to ‘percussion’ and great artwork, this helps to exaggerate the reduction, as it gradually builds up. Alternatively, great artwork and percussion are negative images to the poet and could be referred to as unimportant. Carol Ann Duffy uses alliteration when describing their kiss.
She describes it as ‘chiselled, chilling marble’. The phrase suggests denial as it would be impossible for marble to kiss, as marble is cold, it suggests it’s unfriendly, artificial and harsh; it can also be linked to the topic of art through marble sculptures. This again, reinforces the negativity of art in this poem. The poet states that their promises are ‘locked’ into soundless stone. Once again, the word ‘locked’ has negative connotations of imprisonment. There is also another example of alliteration; ‘soundless stone’, which has a soft and lyrical feel to it.
This has a big impact on the tone of the poem, as it sounds less harsh than the rest of the poem. The poet goes on to say ‘Or fizzled into poems’. Fizzling is literally to make a hissing sound and could suggest something dying out weakly. This is most likely to be referring to the relationship. Duffy echoes Shakespeare’s idea of the timelessness of his poetry, which allows it to stand as a fitting monument to his love; she adopts the idea of art being a fit analogy for the actual experience and emotion of love.
This also echoes the arguments she has made previously against language, elsewhere, the art here stands as a poor substitute for the thing itself, the imagined beauty the relationship was thought to hold before it ‘died’. She goes on to describe their voice as ‘dried flowers’. The dried flowers are a faint imitation of their former selves, possessing only a fraction of the beauty of their living alternatives, so her voice could also be seen to be a pale substitute for the emotions and feelings they wanted to discuss.
In context, the phrase ‘dried flowers’ also shows the loss or death of their own relationship. In the third stanza, the tone becomes more dramatic; the poet suggests there is ‘no choice for love’. She also puts across her point that without love, life is empty and desolate. This is evident when the poet says ‘huge theatres for the echoes we left’. This could indicate a sense of solitude. Towards the end of the poem, Carol Ann Duffy uses a rhyming couplet. This is to signify the end lines of the poem.
She also changes to second and third person using words such as ‘your’ and ‘my’. This could indicate the separation of the two people towards the end. Whereas throughout the poem, she uses first person. The fact that she uses first person throughout the poem indicates how close the two people used to be. From the evidence stated, it is clear that in the poem ‘Art’ Duffy views love and relationships in a negative way. In each of her poems, although she compares love to a particular subject, for example, art, she highlights negative similarities linking with aspects of art.