Paul Durcan - 'The Difficulty that is Marriage'

Addressing his wife
Conversational tone
Negative image of a turbulent relationship without hope of reconcilliation
Free verse poem (no rhyming scheme)
One verse long

“We disagree to disagree, we divide, we differ;”
The alliteration (repetition of ‘d’) highlights these negative words and therefore the opening sets the tone of sadness and disappointment for the poem.

“Yet each night lie in bed beside you
And you are faraway curled up in sleep”
This image differs greatly to the opening images in ‘Nessa’ as it deviates from exciting world of two lovers and rather it depicts an image of anxiety, detachment and boredom.

“I array the moonlight ceiling with a mosaic of question marks;
The image of a moonlight ceiling is a romantic one yet is overthrown with an image of frustration that finishes off the line as the poet lays awake in a confused and anxious state trying to find answers to which only his wofe can answer. This suggests that there is a lack of communication between the pair.

“I have my troubles and I shall always have the,
But I should rather live with you for ever
Than exchange my troubles for a changeless kingdom.”
He would not trade this tainted relationship for the freedom from his own mental anguish which he clearly suffered from throughout his life given his time spent in psychiatric hospitals. This shows his dedication to his marriage.

“But I do not put you on a pedastal or throne”

“You must have your faults but I do not see them”

For a moment we think that the poet doe not glorify his wife until he asserts that he sees her as being perfect.

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The ooet yearns for things to remain changless and once again this is a poem that shows the poet’s longing for the early stages of when he and his wife were in love. The lack of rhyme and the jagged, uneven line lengths do not serve to create a lively tone but rather one that is serious, monotone and therefore conveying the mood of the poet as being sad and hopeless.

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Paul Durcan - 'The Difficulty that is Marriage'. (2018, Jan 19). Retrieved from

Paul Durcan - 'The Difficulty that is Marriage'
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