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Poetry by Ted Hughes; National Poetry Day celebrated

A poem written by Ted Hughes about the night of his first wife's death by suicide, a poem which he was never able to complete, has been published. 'Last Letter' was to have formed part of Birthday Letters, his last book, which describes 'the arc' of his marriage to poet Sylvia Plath.

Poetry has been said to take us into another person's heart. Perhaps there are some hearts where we cannot go, or, having gone, cannot easily return?

The poem by Hughes seems to me a piece of memorabilia, not a work of art. It fascinates because it is connected with violent death. It may have historical significance.

Poetry continues to enthrall poets and readers across the United Kingdom, and that is significant.

National Poetry Day was celebrated today with readings focused on the theme of Home. You can find poetry to mark the occasion on the Poetry Day website.

Here is 'Thought-Fox' by Ted Hughes, from his first collection, Hawk in the Rain. It speaks to three very different kinds of home.


I imagine this midnight moment’s forest:
Something else is alive
Beside the clock’s loneliness
And this blank page where my fingers move.

Through the window I see no star:
Something more near
Though deeper within darkness
Is entering the loneliness:

Cold, delicately as the dark snow,
A fox’s nose touches twig, leaf;
Two eyes serve a movement, that now
And again now, and now, and now

Sets neat prints into the snow
Between trees, and warily a lame
Shadow lags by stump and in hollow
Of a body that is bold to come

Across clearings, an eye,
A widening deepening greenness,
Brilliantly, concentratedly,
Coming about its own business

Till, with a sudden sharp hot stink of fox
It enters the dark hole of the head.
The window is starless still; the clock ticks,
The page is printed.

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