1. Home
  2. Poems & Poets
  3. Browse Poems
  4. Warming Her Pearls by Carol Ann Duffy
Warming Her Pearls

Related Poem Content Details

for Judith Radstone

Next to my own skin, her pearls. My mistress
bids me wear them, warm them, until evening
when I'll brush her hair. At six, I place them
round her cool, white throat. All day I think of her,

resting in the Yellow Room, contemplating silk
or taffeta, which gown tonight? She fans herself
whilst I work willingly, my slow heat entering
each pearl. Slack on my neck, her rope.

She's beautiful. I dream about her
in my attic bed; picture her dancing
with tall men, puzzled by my faint, persistent scent
beneath her French perfume, her milky stones.

I dust her shoulders with a rabbit's foot,
watch the soft blush seep through her skin
like an indolent sigh. In her looking-glass
my red lips part as though I want to speak.

Full moon. Her carriage brings her home. I see
her every movement in my head.... Undressing,
taking off her jewels, her slim hand reaching
for the case, slipping naked into bed, the way

she always does.... And I lie here awake,
knowing the pearls are cooling even now
in the room where my mistress sleeps. All night
I feel their absence and I burn.

Carol Ann Duffy, "Warming Her Pearls" from Selling Manhattan. Copyright © 1987 by Carol Ann Duffy.  Reprinted by permission of Anvil Press Poetry, Ltd..
Source: Selling Manhattan (Anvil Press Poetry Ltd., 1987)
Discover this poem's context and related poetry, articles, and media.
Warming Her Pearls

Related Poem Content Details

  • Carol Ann Duffy is an award-winning Scots poet who, according to Danette DiMarco in Mosaic, is the poet of "post-post war England: Thatcher's England." Duffy is best known for writing love poems that often take the form of monologues. Her verses, as an Economist reviewer described them, are typically "spoken in the voices of the urban disaffected, people on the margins of society who harbour resentments and grudges against the world." Although she knew she was a lesbian since her days at St. Joseph's convent school, her early love poems give no indication of her homosexuality; the object of love in her verses is someone whose gender is not specified. Not until her 1993 collection, Mean Time, and 1994's Selected Poems, does she begin to write about homosexual love.

    Duffy's poetry has always had a strong feminist edge, however. This position is especially well captured in her Standing...

  • Poems By Carol Ann Duffy

  • Poem Categorization

    If you disagree with this poem's categorization make a suggestion.

Other Information