Two Poems

Ted Hughes

Spring 1960

I.  THE PERFECT FORMS
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.

II.  FIRE-EATER
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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