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'The City' - (#8 from 'Howls & Whispers)

This is one of my favourites. I think it's extremely cleverly written and particularly moving, especially the last 9 lines.

The City

Your poems are a dark city centre.
Your novels, your stories, your journals, are suburbs
Of this big city.
The hotels are lit like office blocks all night
With scholars, priests, pilgrims. It's at night
Sometimes I drive through. I just find
Myself driving through, going slow, simply
Roaming in my own darkness, pondering
What you did. Nearly always
I glimpse you - at some crossing,
Staring upwards, lost, sixty year old.
The crowd piles around you. You stand stock still.
Your face, under the green or orange light,
A desert Indian's, wild, bewildered.
You want to ask something but you can't.
You stare into every face
Trying to recognise somebody.
They ignore you. Then the light goes red
And they all surge past you.
Then you see me in my car, staring at you.
I see you thinking: ought I to know him?
I see you frown. I see you trying
To remember - or suddenly not to remember.

- Ted Hughes (from 'Howls & Whispers,' Collected Poems)


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 6th, 2005 02:08 pm (UTC)
I don't like it as much as I do 'In your blue hour' (if that is the title), but I am no critic.. :)

Tho I agree, the last 9 lines were wonderful.
Mar. 6th, 2005 02:13 pm (UTC)
Well....THANK YOU. I don't think anyone's ever said they liked one of my poems more than one of Ted Hughes' before. I am definitely destined to be Poet Laureate here one day.

'Your Blue Hour' :) You liked that one? Thank you. It's a special one because it's the first one I wrote after years of not writing, it's the first one I wrote after I had a breakdown last year and it's also personally special because I wrote it as a tribute/thank you to Sylvia Plath because her work helped me get through a very difficult time.
Mar. 6th, 2005 02:16 pm (UTC)
"I am definitely destined to be Poet Laureate here one day."

Yes, you are!
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


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