Carol Ann Duffy is a Scottish poet and playwright born in 1955. Her work is widely successful and studied in schools throughout the United Kingdom. With her verse, she likes to use simple words in complicated ways.
She began writing poems at 11 years of age. With the dream of always wanting to be a writer, when one of her English teachers died, she produced this poem, showing her talent at an early age:
You sat on your desk,
swinging your legs,
reading a poem by Yeats
to the bored girls,
except my heart stumbled and blushed
as it fell in love with the words and I saw the tree
in the scratched old desk under my hands,
heard the bird in the oak outside scribble itself on the air
In her adult years, she was appointed Britain’s Poet Laureate in May 2009 — becoming the first Scottish female poet to have this role in 400 years. Britain’s Poet Laureate is an honorary position appointed by the monarch of the United Kingdom, and the person in this position may be called upon to write poems for significant national occasions.
Here is her poem simply titled Tea. The poet seems to be finding such joy in the everyday task of making tea for the person she loves.
I like pouring your tea, lifting
the heavy pot, and tipping it up,
so the fragrant liquid streams in your china cup.
Or when you’re away, or at work,
I like to think of your cupped hands as you sip,
as you sip, of the faint half-smile of your lips.
I like the questions – sugar? – milk? –
and the answers I don’t know by heart, yet,
for I see your soul in your eyes, and I forget.
Jasmine, Gunpowder, Assam, Earl Grey, Ceylon,
I love tea’s names. Which tea would you like? I say
but it’s any tea for you, please, any time of day,
as the women harvest the slopes
for the sweetest leaves, on Mount Wu-Yi,
and I am your lover, smitten, straining your tea.