Monday 14 December 2015


Imagine being about 13, sitting on a cold tiled floor in a chilly school hall for what seemed like forever listening to a rather morose bloke who you've never heard of reading some of his rather bleak and depressing poetry. Yes that was me and who was the Mr Ted Hughes. Underwhelmed was the word probably, but that was nothing to do with how he delivered his work. It was simply that it was 1980 or thereabouts and I was the wrong age to appreciate it. Frankly my interests didn't stretch much beyond my friends, boys, fashion, the Top 40 and whatever leading article caught my eye in my Jackie magazine. Later on as I went further with my English studies I rediscovered his body of work and grew to admire its starkness and raw quality. This one follows on well from yesterday's post about Woodwoses as he writes from the perspective of the wild man.


What am I? Nosing here, turning leaves over
Following a faint stain on the air to the river's edge
I enter water. Who am I to split
the glassy grain of water looking upward I see the bed
Of the river above me upside down very clear
What am I doing here in mid-air? Why do I find
this frog so interesting as I inspect its most secret
interior and make it my own? Do these weeds
know me and name me to each other have they
seen me before do I fit in their world? I seem
separate from the ground and not rooted but dropped
out of nothing casually I've no threads
fastening me to anything I can go anywhere
I seem to have been given the freedom
of this place but what am I then? And picking
bits of bark off this rotten stump gives me
no pleasure and it's no use so why do I do it
me and doing that have coincided very queerly
But what shall I be called am I the first
have I an owner what shape am I what
shape am I am I huge if I go
to the end on this way past these trees and past these trees
till I get tired that's touching one wall of me
for the moment if I sit still how everything
stops to watch me I suppose I am the exact centre
but there's all this what is it roots
roots roots roots and here's the water
again very queer but I'll go on looking.


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