Page last updated at 03:40 GMT, Saturday, 13 June 2009 04:40 UK

Politicians provoke poet's ire

Carol Ann Duffy
Carol Ann Duffy will serve 10 years as poet laureate

The new poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, has chosen to attack politicians in her first composition in the post.

Her poem, Politics, published in the Guardian, is a cutting attack on the political world in the wake of the scandal over MPs' expenses.

In the poem Ms Duffy makes sarcastic use of phrases such as Tony Blair's "education, education, education" and Gordon Brown's "moral compass".

Duffy is the first female poet laureate in the post's 341-year history.

The poem aims to attack the effect of politics on idealism.

It begins: "How it makes of your face a stone that aches to weep, of your heart a fist, clenched or thumping, sweating blood, of your tongue an iron latch with no door."

Plank walk

Duffy builds up the intensity of her attack as the poem progresses.

It reads: "How it takes the breath away, the piss, makes of your kiss a dropped pound coin, makes of your promises latin, gibberish, feedback, static, of your hair a wig, of your gait a plank walk."

"How it says this - politics - to your education education education; shouts this - Politics! - to your health and wealth; how it roars, to your conscience moral compass truth," it goes on.

Duffy took over from Andrew Motion - knighted in the Queen's birthday honours - as poet laureate in May.

Her choice of politics as the subject matter for her first composition indicates that she will not shy away from the controversial topics of the day.

When she took on the role she told BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour: "Poetry is all around us, all of the time, whether in song or in speech or on the page, and we turn to it when events, personal or public, matter most."

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