The Most Beautiful Poem You'll Ever Read


In the spirit of National Poetry Day I thought it would only be wise to post my favourite poem ever.

Carol Ann Duffy, our poet laureate, created a mesmerising tale of the intimate recollections of Shakespeare and his wife, Anne Hathaway. It is famously known that Shakespeare did not mention his wife, apart from stating that he'd leave her his 'second best bed' in the will. Lovely.

Scholars believed that Shakespeare did not love her, he found writing about his mistresses far more inspiring. Duffy interprets this thought by explaining, in the words of Hathaway, that this bed was actually their prized possession. This poem explores sensual emotions and devotion.

Duffy cleverly imitates Shakespeare's metaphorical language as if Hathaway was a great poet too.

There's so much to talk about why I love this poem, and it's not just about the pretty objects or dreamy places she writes about. There is a protruding imagery of sex but so subtly done. Damn Shakespeare, you beast.

'Item I gyve unto my wief my second best bed...'
(from Shakespeare's will)

The bed we loved in was a spinning world

of forest, castles, torchlight, cliff-tops, seas

where he would dive for pearls. My lover's words

were shooting stars which fell to earth as kisses

on these lips; my body now a softer rhyme

to his, now echo, assonance; his touch

a verb dancing in the centre of  a noun.

Some nights I dreamed he'd written me, the bed

a page beneath his writer's hand. Romance

and drama played by touch, by scent, by taste.

In the other bed, the best, our guests dozed on,

dribbling their prose. My living laughing love - 

I hold him in the casket of my widow's head. 

as he held me upon that next best bed.

- Carol Ann Duffy

What's your favourite poem? I'd love to know! Comment below!


  1. "his touch / a verb dancing in the centre of a noun" is inexplicable. There is so much elegance in the poem, and gah Shakespeare, what a man (or not) he was! I've got a few favourite poems, and a lot of them come from Proust and A.A Milne. Yes, I absolutely love Winnie the Pooh!

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    1. Also, can I please just say that the image you chose suits the post entirely?!