An insightful poetry analysis of 'Valentine' by Carol Ann Duffy would probably juxtapose the meaning, message, themes,   and free use of imagery in a summary of   the poem with a look at the poet's choice of title. Both the title and the opening line give readers a clue to the message and tone of Duffy’s Valentine poem:

‘Not a red rose or a satin heart.’

The poet creates a contradiction by contrasting the romantic poem style of the title with a negative in the opening line. She seems to be hinting at a different, more tongue-in-cheek approach to St Valentine’s Day. She tells her own Valentine not to expect anything sentimental, romantic or cheesy.

In fact, she then goes on to offer something very surprising and almost cynical as a Valentine’s gift - an onion. In the following lines, she sets out why she thinks this vegetable makes an appropriate Valentine gift:

‘It is a moon wrapped in brown paper. It promises light like the careful undressing of love.’

Carol Ann Duffy may have chosen the moon for her imagery as it is a traditional symbol of love-sickness, said to strongly influence the moods and emotions - particularly of women. However, her approach seems to be far from love-struck and is much more down-to-earth - almost to the point of cynicism. Here, she tells readers about another image associated with romantic love - that of promises. Readers may get the feeling that the promises she has experienced may have been unfulfilled like ‘th’inconstant moon’ referred to by so many writers before her. The moon, it seems, may promise light - but doesn’t always deliver. Duffy appears to be warning of trusting too much in the promises of romantic partners. ‘The careful undressing of love’ may reveal a person’s true character and motives under the superficial veneer of romantic vows.

The poet goes on to cleverly create an image of tear-filled eyes:
‘It will blind you with tears like a lover. It will make your reflection a wobbling photo of...