1 Hour has many references to money and riches, contrasting the concept of material wealth and possessions
against love and time spent with a loved one. Line three puns on the word "spend", and is typical of the way in
which the poem investigates the themes of love and money:
2 The traditional territory of lovers ("Flowers" and "wine") is replaced by alternatives: for example, "a grass
ditch" is an improbable romantic location. There is simplicity and perfection to "the whole of the summer sky",
an image rich in meaning, a visual feast for a loving couple lying down together and looking up. They enjoy
the "Midas light". (Midas was the mythical king whose touch turned things to gold.)
3 As the poem's title suggests, time is an important consideration for the lovers. "For thousands of seconds we
kiss" is a striking phrase, offering the idea of excess - "thousands" - with the limitation of available time,
measured in seconds. This precise measurement indicates how precious time is to the speaker, a "treasure"
to be carefully counted.
4 The pleasure and riches that the couple gather in an hour allow them to feel as if they are frozen in time:
"Time slows, for here/we are millionaires, backhanding the night". The hour spent together in the golden light
gives them a sense of power, making them feel as if they can bribe the darkness to hold back, giving the
lovers immense joy and wealth.
5 There is a contrast between images traditionally seen as romantic (or associated with wealth) and the
ordinary: "Flowers" and "grass ditch" compare to a "jewel" and "cuckoo spit" (insect eggs left on long grass);
"sunlight" contrasts with a "chandelier"; "gold" contrasts with "straw". These contrasts emphasise the romance
of the lovers' time together. Traditional ideas are shown to be unimportant compared to the personal
experience of the two characters.
6 Hour also makes frequent references to images of light in contrast to the night and the darkness of inevitable
separation. These include: "Bright", "summer sky", "Midas light", "shining hour", "candle", "chandelier or
spotlight". Duffy uses light to suggest a positive, warm, optimistic liaison. Rather than dwelling on the darkness
of separation the lovers make the most of the time they have together.
7 In the final stanza there is a single-word sentence "Now.". It is simple, like the lovers' situation, and yet has a
strong sense of being complete; nothing more is needed. It celebrates the moment rather than dwelling on the
future or the past.