Tuesday, 11 November 2008


I love Hughes. His face is an offering from some Kestrel God, his shoulders mossy enough for the pony of his sorrow to lie down on.If you'd put him in a shopping mall all the lights would blow at once, the cash tills releasing ground antler-bone in widdershins spirals to all the unmortgaged lunatics. You know what i'm getting at.
He feels a little ungainly, raw and brilliant-like at some point in his adolescence he had a deep experience that none of us are privy to, but sense in his hands and his sticky out hair.
They can be tough though: sometimes his poems feels like atmospheres rather than highly individual from each other (of course there are exceptions.)But that's also what gives the work its real sha-man energy: like unwieldy buckets of sound charging up from the Otherworld. He is reluctant to dandy-fy them too much for the human public, they lack chocolaty hooks but pull us forward into heavy weather rather than settle us back down in the armchair with an easy sigh of consensual recognition.It's interesting to look for younger poets who carry some of that-any names? Please send them over.The energy may have moved disciplines- be living near a painter or in a wolfish street person.
So I'm struggling with 'Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being', Hughes mega-thesis, simply because of my lack of knowledge of the intricacys of the Bards plays. Like 'The White Goddess'(see below) Hughes takes big risks, and applies the kind of leaps his poetry embodies into his ideas. The prose is grounded and juicy;

'in the many examples of the shamanic flight recorded in literature and folklore, the prize can be almost anything-the tongue that cannot lie, a hair from the sun gods beard...but almost always the success is mediated by a woman,who either guides him, or is herself the keeper of the treasure,or is herself the treasure, and returns with him...the problem lies in bringing the prize back into the world. It is as if the prize, the object, the woman,were some image of that Complete Being.When he re-enters the world, human life cannot accept what he brings-his own waking consciouness cannot accept it.'

For anyone studying 'Ivan the Bear's Son' with me at the moment that should be
significant-especially around the betrayal of the three false brothers.I will keep
going with the book, try and tighten up my scant Shakespearian knowledge and will eventually attempt to say something vaguely coherant about his ideas. He is lashing much mythological ruminations around the plays and their development.I don't care if it's true, it's certaintly exciting. Anyone out there read it?

wild nature words:
'All night i rose and fell, as if in water, grappling with a luminous doom. By morning i had vanished at least a dozen times into something better' Mary Oliver;
another great poet; 'i thought the earth remembered me, she took me back so tenderly, arranging her dark skirts, her pockets full of lichen and seeds. I slept as never before, a stone on the riverbed, nothing between me and the white fire of the stars but my thoughts, and they floated light as moths among the branches of the
perfect trees'.


Over here at the School we are celebrating the success of one of our allies, the poet Jay Leeming picking up some poetry enormo-award in the U. S. We are dancing on stumpy tables and shaking bricks of word-sugar into each others tea. Well done Jay, for all those endless hours of ruminating that only the red-shinned hawk sees.

Sometimes when eating an apple
i bite too far
and open the little room
the lovers have prepared,
and the seeds fall
onto the kitchen floor
and i see
that they are tear-shaped.

This is just a taster; he can be panoramic, intimate or just plain witty-he is one of our great jugglers- there are lots of rooms in Leemings Hut.

Run to www.jayleeming.com and buy his book today!


The young men reading Krishnamurti say no
to womanly joys, orioles, wagtails, mud,
Rancid songs, the hair of drowning persons,
Bare ankles, the brandy-breath lost in the cold,
All the glee bandits feel by the ocean.
That's all right, but it's not the whole story.
Krishnamurti himself loved orioles and wagtails,
As well as handsome women and flooded fields.


mataharifilms said...

Nice musings. I know my way around one or two WS plays, but Ted's Goddess blew all my fuses. Deep scholarship, intoxicating visions, great love and devotion to his fellow poet. Big Ted. Read his letters, they"re a rushing torrent of poetic thought and energy.

Blessings on your house, and on all our houses

Matahari x

whitewave said...

Hello Martin,
Emboldened by someone I trust recently telling me I don't "sit at the table as if I deserved to be there" I suggest myself as a younger poet who now carries the wildness of which you speak of in Hughes, an idea suggested to me by Jay Leeming himself after hearing me read. I'll stop now before I start tearing myself down. Your school looks fabulous. Best of luck and here's to your return to the island.

Jen Lighty