It is certainly an interesting poem in all regards, reminding us that light is everywhere and never can we escape it; from the reflection of the moon to candles in a restaurant, it is there and we need it. Furthermore, I also enjoyed the way the description of light throughout personifies it and shows how it is part of our life cycle. This is especially true of the poem’s ending, when Duffy states that everything dies... even light – ‘The flare of another match’ – where the image of the light dying out and another match having to be used may suggest a new life entering the world.
The best line in the poem for me has to be ‘the waiter balances light in his hands’, simply for the image it creates in my head. In my view this is a funny image, bringing to mind a drunk waiter stupidly trying to balance candles on his hands without burning himself…though I suspect this is not what Carol Ann Duffy set out to depict!
Another question that comes up when reading the poem is: how can trees possibly ‘think bird’? Then it hit me! I’m happy to say I experienced that moment when you realise you can read a poem and understand it (be warned: this isn’t a thing which happens to everyone reading 'The Grammar of Light'!). After two minutes of blinking followed by twenty seconds of thinking it struck me that Duffy may be suggesting that trees can feel birds and therefore bond with them in a way that is yet to be discovered.
The reasons to read this masterful elixir of a poem are to feel and explore the range of its images, and to see how light can be described in many different ways. One tip whilst reading the poem: make sure you give a free rein to your imagination. Try to imagine the possibilities suggested by every word, as this will make your experience of the poem a better one.