It Has Been Said That Carol Anne Duffy Often Portrays A Negative View Of Love. How Far Do You Agree? Refer To The Collection ‘Rapture’ And Examine At Least One Poem In Detail: Carol Anne Duffy is one of the most significant names in contemporary British poetry, and has achieved that rare feat of critical and commercial success. Her work is widely read by critics and academics. Some critics have indicated that Duffy has been too populist in her work. However on the whole, her work is highly acclaimed in literary circles and lay readers.
Carol Anne Duffy does portray a very pessimistic representation of love, as argued by reviewers. This negativity echoes throughout her notable collection ‘Rapture’ and is attenuated by the different stages of the relationship. Duffy clearly exemplifies the theme of love and affection in ‘Tea’ by illustrating how even a mundane noun, could imply that even something as ordinary as an everyday cup of tea could be used to represent and symbolise the early stages of a relationship. She starts off positively, ‘I like pouring your tea’ .
Already she is asserting her affection for her lover. The syntax of this sentence is extremely effective, at the beginning of the poem, she has shown us that doing anything for her partner, is more of hobby rather than a hindrance. Even in the first line, she is showing that, rather like a wife, she enjoys doing duties and takes pleasure in conducting them as opposed to finding them an irritation. ‘Lifting the heavy pot, and tipping it up’  continues the powerful, tactile imagery; the onerous actions have undertones, of touching sensations.
Although her description of ‘lifting’ the ‘heavy pot’ suggests that the action is a burden, it is also evident that she enjoys doing anything for her partner. This line can also be metaphorically deciphered and shows insight, as it incorporates the importance and understanding in a relationship, despite him having imperfections, she still, loves him. Duffy’s use of sexual innuendo as she ‘dreams’ of him hints at her eagerness for sexual intimacy. The next line is very descriptive, and is beautifully composed.
‘So the fragrant liquid steams in your china cup’ . Relating back to the second sentence, she is referring back to their relationship, as she describes the action of ‘lifting’ the teapot, she then contently watches him drink the tea, she so lovingly prepared. This line also shows devices of olfactory imagery, conjuring a mental image of scented tea, wafting gently, around the steaming cup. In the second stanza, even whilst preparing tea, her mind, subconsciously drifts to him when he is away, ‘or at work’ .
This shows how often she misses him and the magnitude of her emotions and feelings. This is well reflected in the rest of the stanza, as she likes ‘to think of his cupped hands as you sip, as you sip’ . She takes pleasure in thinking of him, and this invokes an image of him slowly sipping the tea, almost periodically. The effect of onomatopoeic repetition enables us to envisage her partner slowly sipping the tea, as it gets cooler. This could be symbolising their relationship, and as time passes, they venture deeper into each other’s lives.
She thinks of him when he’s not home, and see’s the ‘faint half-smile of his lips’, demonstrating how happy she is thinking about him. In the following stanza, she shows how much she enjoys making his tea for him, by religiously asking, what he’d like in his tea, ‘-sugar? – milk? ‘. She does seem very deeply involved with her partner, and she’s looking forward in the relationship, although it has not been a long time since they’ve been involved.
This is explicitly shown when she admits she does not know some of ‘the answers I don’t know by heart, yet’. It is shown effectively as the word ‘yet’ is in juxtaposition with the comma, just before it, to magnify its importance, showing us that she also expects the relationship to last. She forgets whenever she asks him for ‘sugar’ or ‘milk’, as she sees his ‘soul in his eyes’ . This suggests, she is so deeply infatuated with him, even the slightest gaze at his eyes, makes her forget, as she concentrates on him, and only him.