Valentine, by Ann Duffy and First Love by John Clare

Valentine, by Ann Duffy and First Love by John Clare

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Valentine is by Ann Duffy. The first thing that caught my attention
was the title “Valentine”. Usually when you would hear that word your
head would be thinking hearts, love, romance, and choclates etc but
not in this case. In this poem it describes love as an onion and this
is the constant imagery. The poets aim was to use the onion as a
symbol of love rather than the everyday, typical gifts.

I think the poem might have been written by a male but adapted by a
female poet. My reason for saying this is mainly because when you read
the poem it sounds as though it’s a male word because it talks about
giving gifts which is normally from the man. Never the less it has
more deep and emotional feelings in it which makes it sound like a
female words. However we will never know for sure.

The language that the poet uses whether it’s a male or a female is
very powerful and strong because even if don’t enjoy the poem you
would still remember parts of it because its so blunt and straight to
the point .The poem also uses at some point simile and metaphors which
also makes it very affective. In this poem it also constantly compares
love to an onion. It uses the same words that can describe love as
well as an onion , doesn’t really use sweet and fragile words or
phrases that you would normally expect in a love poem but in my
opinion having a bit of a change is always a good thing.

“Blind you with tears”

The word blind and tears show the nature of love and how love can hurt
which leaves you heartbroken and in rivers of tears. However in
cooking wise the onion would blind you and make you cry when you cut
it, so the poet bought these two things together and joined them up to
make his or her point more interesting for the reader.

The language makes me feel very moved at some points because its very
emotional and descriptive .My favourite verse was the last one because
it uses strong words but with passion and a deep full meaning.


Its scent will cling to your fingers,

Cling to your knife

Lethal means dangerous and I think this would describe love best
because in reality love is romantic however if you don’t play it right
and don’t abide by the rules then it could turn into a very nasty
game. This is why love shouldn’t be messed about in the first place as
it not a game in real life it could mess a persons life forever.

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Its scent will cling to your fingers; this sentence basically means
that love is not easy to get rid of. In my opinion I think it’s got a
very sentimental touch to it and at the end of the day it makes a lot
of sense.

Cling to your knife, this sentence tells us that love does end and the
word cling is very negative and it gives off a bad vibe. This is when
the whole poem is needed with a bitter ending.

The poem contains a couple of metaphors and similes for example

“Like the careful undressing of love”

This simile is very striking and successful because it is set out in a
well thought out sentence. This means that love is gradually revealed,
that there is a darker side to love which is best kept hidden. It also
means that love is takes a long time to grow and show it true colours,
and that it’s very fragile and soft. This simile also happens to be an
extended metaphor.

“It is a moon wrapped in brown paper”

This metaphor just basically describes an onion but in a more poetic
way. The moon is the actual onion and the brown wrapping paper is only
describing the outer skin. Think this is a very clever idea and indeed
very imaginative.

The poem only contains one use of personification; the affect is quite
great because it’s giving a non human a human power.

I think through out the poem, the poet is trying to bring down love as
best as he or she could.

“Not a cute card or a kissogram”

This is a good example of how the poet tries to bring down how the
poet tries to bring down love as this is a clichés which means a
commercial gift which brings down the image of love.

“Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips”

This means that love is bitter, sharp and strong and that the taste
will stay with you.

Overall the tone starts very positive but by the end it goes negative,
depressing, dull and forceful.

The poet is trying to say that love is not eternal and that it takes
two people to make it a relationship work. The Message that it’s
trying to get across is that love isn’t all about happiness but it
also has its fair amount of bitterness. I think the whole point of
this poem was to say that love is more important than presents and
that it’s far more meaningful. It’s about affection, caring and taking
it seriously as it’s a dangerous game to take on board.

My opinion of the poem is that it’s laid out really well and if you
read it over and over again then it will make sense as there is a lot
to take in. There are a lot of thoughts and emotions behind it. It
made me see love from a completely different aspect of life. Basically
love does contain a lot hurt, pain and sleep less nights.

First love is by John Clare. It describes love at first sight which is
totally opposite fro Valentine. These two poets have completely
different views on love. This poem is told by the point of view of a

The language of this poem is very simple and not at all powerful and
strong as valentine. I think this is because Valentine shows a
different side to love where as this poem tells you how it feels when
you fall in love but it doesn’t tell u the truth behind it, The
language makes me think if love at first sight really exists and if
there is such a thing as soul mates which I believe in anyway. It also
made me think if love is everlasting and I have decided that it is
because I have living proof of my grandparents and my own parents who
are still in very much so in love with their partners. The word used
in this poem is what you would expect to hear and see because it’s a
typical love poem. However you would never expect to hear words like
lethal, bitter and sharp that describes love in Valentine.

The poem layout is very different to Valentine .This poem includes
alliteration and alternating rhyme which was not included in
Valentine. I think this makes this poem more interesting.

This poem also contains three similes but not any metaphors.

“Like a sweet flower”

“As deadly pale”

“As chords do from the string”

The first simile compares love to a flower and how sweet it is which
was never mentioned in Valentine but quite the opposite actually.

The second simile describes his facial expression, but he hardly had
anything on his face, it was all pale as he was bedazzled by her

The last simile describes the way he tried to communicate with her,
with his eyes, I think this is a very good use of a simile and very

“So sudden and so sweet”

The affect of the alliteration is very powerful and a good thing to
use in your poem and this makes it different to the layout of

I especially like the phrase

“My heart has left its dwelling place, and can return no more”.

I think what he is saying here is that the women stole his heart and
that it doesn’t belong to him any more. The way he put the words
together has a big impact on the reader because it’s well said.

Reading this poem is very different to valentine as they are both so
unlike and have different views on love but that was to be expected
anyway. Valentine is very blunt, very honest and straight to the
point. Where as this poem is what you hear about love everyday.

My opinion of the poem is that it’s very discripetive, good layout and
a wide range of good words to set out the poem and on the whole very
affective. This is because it talks about love how we all want to hear
but on the other hand Valentine talks about reality of love.

Overall I prefer Valentine and I think it’s mainly because it’s not a
typical, soopy love poem but with a twist and also because it’s very
realistic. The poet is not afraid to talk about love being lethal and
bitter instead of romantic and sweet.
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