Wednesday, July 05, 2006

from 'Crow Tyrannosaurus' by Ted Hughes

Creation quaked voices-
It was a cortege
Of mourning and lament [...]

And the dog was a bulging filterbag
Of all the deaths it had gulped for the flesh and the bones.
It could not digest their screeching finales.
Its shapeless cry was a blort of all those voices.

4 comments:

Rappaccini's Daughter said...

You know, I am so heavily biased against Ted Hughes that I cannot read him straight.

It's not fair I know to hold a writer's personality against what they produce. But in this case...in this case...

especially when I read lines like "And the dog was a bulging filterbag
Of all the deaths it had gulped for the flesh and the bones.
It could not digest their screeching finales"

I can't but help see him as the vicious dog and Sylvia and his other dead wives and mistresses as the flesh and bones he feasted on.

I am heavily flawed I know.

Tomas Sidoli said...

Those on Hughes' 'side' are just as flawed, seeing Plath as some kind of psycho. To play devil's advocate, Plath did have antecedents. There is no denying that he did nothing to help the situation. As for his second wife, it's almost like a domino effect. She must have felt guilty about Plath's death.

What is important is that they met and drove each other on to write some good poems.And in Hughes' defence, though he 'edited' Ariel, he also did a lot to push his wife's work. I'm not saying we would not have had access to her poems without him, but he did do a lot in establishing her reputation before people focused on other aspects than the poetry.

And I think the poor man paid more than his due for his mistakes. You should read S.Heaney's elegy of Hughes in 'Electric Light'. Here's the first stanza:

On His Work in the English Tongue

in memory of Ted Hughes

1

Post-this, post-that, post-the-other yet in the end/
Not past a thing. Not understanding or telling/
Or forgiveness./
But often past oneself,/
Pounded like a shore by the roller griefs/
In language that can still knock language sideways.

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