Since we’re on a bit of a poetry kick, here’s a killer one from Ted Hughes (via my awesome sister Judith)


Ted Hughes, The Horses 

I climbed through woods in the hour-before-dawn dark.
Evil air, a frost-making stillness,

Not a leaf, not a bird –
A world cast in frost. I came out above the wood

Where my breath left tortuous statues in the iron light.
But the valleys were draining the darkness

Till the moorline – blackening dregs of the brightening grey –
Halved the sky ahead. And I saw the horses:

Huge in the dense grey – ten together – 
Megalith-still. They breathed, making no move,

with draped manes and tilted hind-hooves,
Making no sound.

I passed: not one snorted or jerked its head.
Grey silent fragments

Of a grey silent world.

I listened in emptiness on the moor-ridge.
The curlew’s tear turned its edge on the silence.

Slowly detail leafed from the darkness. Then the sun
Orange, red, red erupted

Silently, and splitting to its core tore and flung cloud,
Shook the gulf open, showed blue,

And the big planets hanging – 
I turned

Stumbling in the fever of a dream, down towards
The dark woods, from the kindling tops,

And came to the horses.
There, still they stood,
But now steaming and glistening under the flow of light,

Their draped stone manes, their tilted hind-hooves
Stirring under a thaw while all around them

The frost showed its fires. But still they made no sound.
Not one snorted or stamped,

Their hung heads patient as the horizons,
High over valleys in the red levelling rays –

In din of crowded streets, going among the years, the faces,
May I still meet my memory in so lonely a place 

Between the streams and the red clouds, hearing the curlews, 
Hearing the horizons endure.


Leaves of grass

I’ve read poetry for most of my life. Since I was 12, probably, when I read Heaney’s “Death of a Naturalist” for the first time and recognised his boyish growth and love/hate of the loamy earth where he (and nearby, I) grew up.

But always as I read, poems struck me as single notes – the best ones – hit me individually. They spoke to me through packaged line and verse and made me think about their story, message and song and how they said what they said to me. I loved them.

I’m able to realise how I saw poetry before now because I’m reading Walt Whitman for the first time. He’s created a “then and now”.

I’d often heard of people, and heard stories, of how an artist spoke to them in such a way that it felt like the artist WAS them. That the artist seemed to walk so closely beside them that they could almost predict what he/she would sing/write/draw/say next. That the artist made the person feel completely understood.

I cannot fathom the depth of understanding, of belonging, that Walt Whitman had given me these last few days. It’s like he’s in my head – as if all the dreams, intuitions, wishes, loves, thoughts, lusts, desires, clarity, insight, inspiration, confusion, hope – and more! – that i’ve ever had, he’s had. And he’s telling me about them, one at a time.

I suppose I feel like I’ve a new best friend. Only, for the first time, this friends been dead for 2 generations – and I didn’t think that was possible.

Leaves of grass