Two Valentine’s Day Treats – With a Difference! Poems by Rhonda Ganz and Carol Ann Duffy

Canadian Poet from Vancouver Island, Rhonda Ganz


Mention in passing, Cleopatra,
a bath in asses’ milk,
and my lover’s off
to the all-night grocery for gallon jugs.
A pot on every burner,
and a bowl in the microwave, too.

Get in , he says
when the tub is six inches whiter.
And I do.

And what I feel is whole
milk, my lover back and forth,
and I’m in a county of cows and alabaster
where bliss is creating Kneecap Mountain, climbing Breast Plateau
rising Shoulder hill. The whole room smells like melted sugar.

I cup my hands
in warm milk
raise then to my lover,

and my lover
bows his head to drink.

Rhonda Ganz from Frequent, Small Loads of Laundry, Mother tongue Publishing, 2017

What a pleasure when poet friends of mine find a home for their poems in a collection. A place where they are corralled, and I can read them at leisure, some of them old friends, heard read out at poetry retreats or readings. On my desk now, a perfect collection for Valentine’s Day,
Rhonda Ganz’s book, Frequent, small loads of laundry.

Treat yourself, a friend, a lover to Rhonda’s new book! But read the poems out loud only if you or your friend hasn’t had recent stomach surgery. Then, the staples would likely pop out!

In the poem above you can hear Rhonda’s singular, signature voice. How she conjures up out of the bizarre and unlikely, compelling narratives that cut to the bone. Her humour, wonderful but dangerous.

What a love poem offering for Valentines day! This poem cracks me up. The joy of the poem’s unlikely beginning:

Mention in passing, Cleopatra’,
a bath in asses’ milk,
and my lover’s off
But also the unexpected tenderness of its ending:

I cup my hands
in warm milk
raise then to my lover,

and my lover
bows his head to drink.

Decided to post this blog post late so it is less likely one of my reader’s decides this is a great Valentine’s idea!

Dame Carol Ann Duffy, UK Poet Laureate


It wasn’t difficult to choose a poem to pair with Rhonda’s. Another out of the ordinary poem! This time a most unexpected Valentine! A well-known poem by UK Poet Laureate Dame Carol Ann Duffy:


Not a red rose or a satin
heart. I give you an onion.
It is a moon wrapped in
brown paper.
It promises light
like the careful undressing
of love.

It will blind you with tears
like a lover.
It will make your reflection
a wobbling photo of grief.

I am trying to be truthful.

Not a cute card or a

I give you an onion.
Its fierce kiss will stay on
your lips,
possessive and faithful
as we are,
for as long as we are.

Take it.
Its platinum hoops shrink to
a wedding ring,
if you like.

Its scent will cling to your fingers,
cling to your knife.

Carol Ann Duffy from New Selected Poems 1984-2004, Picador Poetry, 2004

This poems gets me every time I read it. It surprise. Its edginess. Its utter originality. To write a poem of this power, this freshness, this unsettling impact. What a challenge!

Two poems, I hope you enjoyed, to celebrate Valentine’s Day 2018!


  1. Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Rhonda, your poems always tickle my funny bone. Love your unique perspective on life.

  2. Richard Osler
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    heisi: Love that you addressed this comment directly to Rhonda! I have let her know you commented on her poem just in case she didn’t see this right away! And you are so right. It’s her unique persective that makes her poems feel so fresh, so surprising! Continued travelling mercies for your grand adventure!

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *