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)