In English, first, if you please, because it is yours to keep.
Of all the poems in Carol Ann Duffy’s The World’s Wife, “Mrs Quasimodo” is my favourite by far. It’s perhaps a little long for a blog post. I contemplated putting in a shorter poem, but instead I’ll just put my favourite bit down, and hopefully, it’ll inspire enough curiosity to read everything that I’ve left out here.
Mrs Quasimodo Carol Ann Duffy
[. . .]
Where did it end?
A ladder. Heavy tools. A steady hand.
And me, alone all night up there,
bent on revenge.
He had pet names for them.
The belfry trembled when she spoke for him.
I climbed inside her with my claw-hammer,
my pliers, my saw, my clamp;
and, though it took an agonizing hour,
ripped out her brazen tongue
and let it fall.
his second-favourite bell,
kept open her astonished, golden lips
and let me in.
The bells. The bells.
I made them mute.
No more arpeggios or scales, no stretti, trills
for christenings, weddings, great occasions, happy days.
No more practising
on smudgy autumn nights.
No clarity of sound, divine, articulate,
to purify the air
and bow the heads of drinkers in the city bars.
[. . .]