Carol Ann Duffy’s poetry collection, “Sincerity” gives some of my deepest emotions a voice. It’s an angry, curse-rich, bitter voice and hearing it makes me feel less alone.
For nearly three years now, I’ve woken up each day feeling that my world, my values, my imagined futures, my present freedoms are under attack. It’s an all-pervasive thing, like the smell of shit in the air. It works its way, like sand on a beach, into parts of my life I thought politics would never touch.
I feel: angry, betrayed, ashamed for not having seen it coming, bloodyminded in my opposition. Most of all, I feel as if the kind of people I have always hated have stolen from me something that I valued and failed to protect.
Some hatred is instinctive. I once took my gentle, good-natured, beloved by everyone Labrador to a County Show. There he met his first ferret. His need to rend the creature into pieces of dead meat was instant and unrestrained. I am, most of the time, more civilised (or less honest) than my dog, so when I meet the charismatic chancers who care for no-one but themselves I scent ferret and completely understand my dog’s response.
In “Sincerity” Carol Ann Duffy speaks to arseholes who have emerged as leaders in our world. She understands the harm they do and the hurt they cause. She holds them in contempt. Not the contempt that comes from an intellectual disapproval but the full-blooded contempt felt bone-deep for people whose words and actions pollute the world.
It is a collection that has helped keep me sane by acknowledging that this really is happening and I am not slipping into a paranoid delusion.
I recommend the collection to you.
As a taster, here’s the poem of that hit me hardest. It’s about my hated ferrets.