10 July 2006

Ted Hughes

[from Ted Hughes's Crow]

Crow’s Theology

Crow realized God loved him—
Otherwise, he would have dropped dead.
So that was proved.
Crow reclined, marvelling, on his heart-beat.

And he realized that God spoke crow—
Just existing was His revelation.

But what
Loved the stones and spoke stone?
They seemed to exist too.
And what spoke that strange silence
After his clamour of caws faded?

And what loved the shot-pellets
That dribbled from those strung-up mummifying crows?
What spoke the silence of lead?

Crow realized there were two Gods—

One of them much bigger than the other
Loving his enemies
And having all the weapons.

Crow’s Nerve Fails

Crow, feeling his brain slip.
Finds his every feather the fossil of a murder.

Who murdered all these?
These living dead, that root in his nerves and his blood
Till he’s visibly black?

How can he fly from his feathers?
And why have they homed on him?

Is he the archive of their accusations?
Or their ghostly purpose, their pining vengeance?
Or their unforgiven prisoner?

He cannot be forgiven.

His prison is the earth. Clothed in his conviction,
Trying to remember his crimes

Heavily he flies.


O littleblood, hiding from the mountains in the mountains.
Wounded by stars and leaking shadow
Eating the medical earth.

O littleblood, little boneless little skinless
Ploughing with a linnet’s carcase
Reaping the wind and threshing the stones.

O littleblood, drumming in a cow’s skull
Dancing with a gnat’s feet
With an elephant’s nose with a crocodile’s tail.

Grown so wise grown so terrible
Sucking death’s mouldy tits.

Sit on my finger, sing in my ear, O littleblood.

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