Jewellery As it Appears in Poetry and Literature (Updated)

"Ring" poem by Carol Ann Duffy (print by Stephen Raw)
“Rings” poem by Carol Ann Duffy (print by Stephen Raw)

Given the fact that jewellery has such strong emotional connotations (especially the wedding ring), it should come as no surprise that it features a special place in the symbolism of poetry and literature, representing many things from an eternal and unbreakable institution of power to the seductive and addictive nature of said power.

Update: The website HelloPoetry.com keeps a list of all poems featuring the word jewellery (and a separate list for the American spelling jewelry). Also, I’ve now added this entry to the Something Beautiful in Jewellery feature section of the blog.

The poem above is a piece written by Carol Ann Duffy about wedding rings. She also wrote a feature for the Guardian about poems for weddings.

I’ve copied the entire poem beyond the break.

Rings

for both to say

I might have raised your hand to the sky
to give you the ring surrounding the moon
or looked to twin the rings of your eyes
with mine
or added a ring to the rings of a tree
by forming a handheld circle with you, thee,
or walked with you
where a ring of church-bells,
looped the fields,
or kissed a lipstick ring on your cheek,
a pressed flower,
or met with you
in the ring of an hour,
and another hour . . .
I might
have opened your palm to the weather, turned, turned,
till your fingers were ringed in rain
or held you close,
they were playing our song,
in the ring of a slow dance
or carved our names
in the rough ring of a heart
or heard the ring of an owl’s hoot
as we headed home in the dark
or the ring, first thing,
of chorussing birds
waking the house
or given the ring of a boat, rowing the lake,
or the ring of swans, monogamous, two,
or the watery rings made by the fish
as they leaped and splashed
or the ring of the sun’s reflection there . . .
I might have tied
a blade of grass,
a green ring for your finger,
or told you the ring of a sonnet by heart
or brought you a lichen ring,
found on a warm wall,
or given a ring of ice in winter
or in the snow
sung with you the five gold rings of a carol
or stolen a ring of your hair
or whispered the word in your ear
that brought us here,
where nothing and no one is wrong,
and therefore I give you this ring.

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