Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I am currently enthralled by Ted Hughes, in a way that has seldom happened.

Yeats is My Poet; he is magnetic north to me, pointing way to my truest self.

Stevens somehow brings me into his singular universe, if I let him—if I surrender to his rhythms, and his conceits—and at the end, I become attuned better to my own.

Eliot quite often moves me; we share weaknesses, I think, both of us too often mesmerized by the past.

Auden is my companionable poet, who I can read in good times and bad, and who makes me laugh and feel happy to be human.

Dickinson is my first love; I fell for her in grade school, when I discovered that she was nobody too, and referred to angleworms as "fellows", and when I grew older, fell deeper for her ability to find ecstasy in stillness, to mock death as if it was a house-servant, and for her strangeness, her insolence, and her audacity.

I fell for Plath the moment I read "Lady Lazerus"—I love nearly everything in The Collosus and Ariel, but it was not necessary, to seal the deal. The fierce feminine intelligence at work in that poem, beguiling language and consuming men whole, was enough.

But in Hughes, I am discovering.

It is exhilerating, and I will report soon.

For now, have a look at Ted Hughes' "Crow's Fall":

When Crow was white he decided the sun was too white.
He decided it glared much too whitely.
He decided to attack it and defeat it.

He got his strength flush and in full glitter.
He clawed and fluffed his rage up.
He aimed his beak direct at the sun's centre.
He laughed himself to the centre of himself

And attacked.

At his battle cry trees grew suddenly old,
Shadows flattened.

But the sun brightened-
It brightened, and Crow returned charred black.

He opened his mouth but what came out was charred black.

"Up there," he managed,
"Where white is black and black is white, I won."

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