• Two Poems

    Ted Hughes

    Spring 1960


    Here is Socrates, born under Pisces,
    Smiling, complacent as a phallus,
    Or Buddha, whose one thought fills immensity:

    Visage of Priapus: the undying tail-swinging
    Stupidity of the donkey
    That carries Christ. How carefully he nurses

    This six-day abortion of the Absolute­
    No better for the fosterings
    Of fish, reptile and tree-leaper throughout

    Their ages of God-forsaken darkness­
    This monstrous-headed difficult child!
    Of such is the kingdom of heaven.


    Those stars are the fleshed forbears
    Of these dark hills, bowed like laborers,

    And of my blood.

    The death of a gnat is a star’s mouth: its skin,
    Like Mary’s or Semele’s, thin

    As the skin of fire:
    A star fell on her, a sun devoured her.

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