Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Carol Ann Duffy is quickly turning out to be my latest favourite poet. I've been researching her poems for my students and while doing so, I came across almost all of her "World's Wife" poems, which are absolutely hilarious! In this particular collection of her's, she has presented the points of view of the wives of famous male personalities. (barring Elvis Presley, whose sister's point of view has been presented.)

And as a woman, sometimes, these stories just click so well and I can relate to them so perfectly. Today, when 3 women who are very close to me have narrated similar stories to me, just like the one in this poem, I feel the need to put it up.. Not only is this something that men often do and women often suffer, it is also a sentiment perfectly captured and subverted to achieve the right effect.

Pygmalion's Bride

Cold, I was, like snow, like ivory.
I thought He will not touch me,
But he did 
He kissed my stone-cool lips.
I lay still
As though I’d died.
He stayed.
He thumbed my marble eyes.
He spoke – 
Blunt endearments, what he’d do and how.
His words were terrible.
My ears were sculpture
Stone-deaf, shells.
I heard the sea.
I drowned him out.
I heard him shout.
He brought me presents, polished pebbles, 
little bells.
I didn’t blink,
Was dumb.
He brought me pearls and necklaces and rings.
He called them girly things.
He ran his clammy hands along my limbs.
I didn’t shrink,
Played statue, shtum.
He let his fingers sink into my flesh, 
He squeezed, he pressed.
I would not bruise.
He looked for marks, 
For purple hearts,
For inky stars, for smudgy clues.
His nails were claws.
I showed no scratch, no scrape, no scar.
He propped me up on pillows,
Jawed all night.
My heart was ice, was glass.
His voice was gravel, hoarse.
He talked white black. 
So I changed tack,
Grew warm, like candle wax,
Kissed back,
Was soft, was pliable, 
Began to moan,
Got hot, got wild,
Arched, coiled, writhed,
Begged for his child,
And at the climax
Screamed my head off – 
All an act
And haven’t seen him since.
Simple as that. 

For those who don't know who Pygmalion is, here is the wikipedia link for the story. I don't particularly want to dwell on the details of my friends' stories here. But suffice to say that three hearts were broken because of the hot-cold-hot-cold attitude that confused men often adopt. I wish men would understand that it's not okay to encourage a woman and then let her down by putting all the blame on her; that it's not okay to stop communicating out of the blue and then place the blame on the girl of actually saying the word "break up" out loud; that it's not okay to get into a relationship simply because you're lonely and then get out of it when you need space.

All relationships have to be worked at and they require efforts. If you don't want to put in the efforts but want the results, then it's never going to work out. And this advice goes out to everybody, irrespective of their gender.


  1. people cannot get into a relationship when they are lonely, they can get into a relationship ONLY if the girl and the boy wants it.

    and if it is like, men can decide when to start and stop a relationship, it also implies that all women are like things you can buy from market !!

  2. Yes, people get into a relationship only if both the people want it. But the reasons for wanting to be in a relationship may differ. If x (girl or boy, doesn't matter) wants to be in a relationship because he is lonely and y was the first available person whereas y wants to be in a relationship with x because he genuinely likes x, then it's definitely going to be a difficult situation in future.