A Poem I Love

 A cool small evening shrunk to a dog bark and the clank of a


 And you listening.

A spider’s web, tense for the dew’s touch.

A pail lifted, still and brimming----mirror

To tempt a first star to a tremor.


Cows are going home in that lane there, looping the hedges with

                Their warm wreaths of breath----

A dark river of blood, many boulders,

Balancing unspilled milk.


“Moon!” you cry suddenly, “Moon! Moon!”


The moon has stepped back like an artist gazing amazed at a work

That points at him amazed.

(Full Moon and Little Frieda, by Ted Hughes)

I love this poem. I love the descriptiveness of it. An evening of two sounds, a spider's web waiting, a pale of milk a mirror. I would love to write poems like this. But this is Ted Hughes, how can I ever think I could write poetry like the great Ted Hughes? I may never but what his poetry does for me is it makes me want to run to my journal and scribble down words to make a poem, two poems, many poems. I want to look and hear and smell and touch and describe it all so that the reader sits in the words and relishes them.

So many people don't get poetry, they remember eyelid drooping sessions in dark musty English classes, thinking "How does the teacher know the poet thought that? Maybe he just felt like writing those words and they don't really mean anything deeper."

They have a point. Poems don't have to have some deep, secret meaning. They can just be words on a page. But I think that would be a little bit of a waste. Like dabbing blobs of paint on a canvas with no thought or intention. For me the words must crackle off my tongue like sherbert: surprising me, shocking me, making me gasp. Setting off synapses, making me think. And yet, it is good to play. Throwing the words down without thought or intention and seeing what emerges. Losing control and surrendering to the unconscious. Even as I write that it frightens me a little. Have I become too much of an adult?

It's Friday - I'm going to go and play now. With words. Let's see what appears.

Leave a Comment