by Carol Ann Duffy
Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
'Item I gyve unto my wife my second best bed ...'
(from Shakespeare's will)
- The epigraph is the key to understanding this poem. It's actually a line from Shakespeare's will (how cool is that?). It turns out the only thing he has left for his wife is their second best bed. This may seem like a major insult (couldn't Shakespeare have left her some cash, or maybe even their best bed?), but the poem aims to change all that. For more context on the will and its interpretations, check out what we have to say in "In a Nutshell."