In this essay I will be looking at Carol Ann Duffy’s “Saying Something” along with exploring and discussing the ways in which she presents her ideas in the poem. Carol Ann Duffy’s poem “Saying Something,” presents the idea of love, how a person feels when the one they love is gone, the emptiness, the hoping, how they picture everything and everyone as their partner. “Things assume your shape. ” Without them the poet is nothing. In “Saying Something” Carol Ann Duffy uses enjambment. The rhythm of the words is disjointed, which I think is a reflection on how absent love makes the poet feel.
Unsettled. There is no use of rhyme in the poem, and so it is irregular and disturbing. Throughout the poem the way she talks changes. It is written in the second person, directly to her lover even though she won’t tell him. It’s secret. Throughout the paragraphs she changes the phrases, we, you, I. Depending on how alone she is. The first stanza is very visual, and Carol Ann Duffy makes you visualise the bathroom. “Discarded clothes”, “Damp shroud. ” The word shroud is a strange choice. Though it is obviously meant to be the towel, it gives a different image.
A shroud is material that is wrapped round dead bodies. This therefore gives me images of death. I think this is to show how the poet feels like nothing, dead even without her partner. Along with this image I get images of mist covering the bathroom. Making her blind, making the picture blurred and unclear. I think this is another reflection on the insecurity she feels. I think this is a weird image to show secure love. “My heart assumes it. ” It makes the love seem unclear and blurred as well. As if the poet is not as sure as she makes out. As if its not so secure and clear when he is not around.
The next stanza, give more of the secure images, “familiar,” “private,” but it also continues the insecurities niggling away at her. “Slip through our fingers,” “smoke. ” It gives the idea that the love is immaterial, and that the poet is worried it may disappear any minute. The third stanza develops these feelings further. “I dreamed I was not with you. ” She is scared of being left alone, without him. Its as if she has no one in the world except him. “I stared at strangers, searching for a word to make them you. ” Like she cant interact with anyone except him.
She feels lonely and empty even desperate when he is not there. It’s a dread, which she hides from her lover, and it is obvious they don’t talk about the problem. “The dreams we have no phrases for… ” (l. 8-10) The only time she is reassured that they are together is when he is there next to her. The forth stanza shows how developed and how insecure she is about their relationship. “Sweetheart, I say. Pedestrian daylight terms scratch darker surfaces. ” This is an interesting sentence. Pedestrian also means ordinary, it gives the idea that people say sweetheart all the time not really thinking about it or meaning it.
This explores the insecurity further. It’s saying she doesn’t believe it when he says it. This is why they “scratch darker surfaces. ” Because she feels dark inside filled with her insecurities. Dark, empty… like she is plunging into nothingness. “Your absence leaves me with the ghost of love. ” It gives the idea not only that she is empty without out him, but also that she is dead. “The ghost of love” signifies death as I said but also the image of the disappearing love. In the second stanza “slip through our fingers into smoke,” also gives this idea.
Because he is gone their love has also done so. The last stanza finalises the poem and how she feels and the last two words allude to the title. “Walking home I see you turning on the lights. I come in from outside calling you name, saying something. ” Saying something refers to her calling his name. His name says something. It’s important unlike the words such as “sweetheart,” which she believes are empty and insubstantial. The communication also shows identity and belonging. Which is what she wants to feel, but cant when he is not next to her. The light extends this and gives an idea of positivity.
Him being back gives her this, and her insecurities are no longer there. In conclusion I find quite a few things in “Saying Something” interesting. I like the way Carol Ann Duffy used enjambment, to unsettle the piece and bring across the feelings of apprehension. I also like the word use to show these feelings. I especially like the choices of the words “slip”, and “smoke” in stanza three. These are very effective. But my favourite sentence has to be “the ghost of love” because it really gives the image of the woman in the poem disappearing away because her partner is not there.