The Iron Woman


Finished reading The Iron Woman by Ted Hughes tonight.
The men in the Waste Disposal Factory that is polluting the marsh are turned into giant water creatures and made to Seriously Reconsider. Things in England at least are never the same.

Hughes, one of my heroes, deserves many entries.

Suffice it to have him read some of his crow poems:

Leonard Baskin’s ink & crayon drawing for the cover of Ted Hughes’ Crow

Black was the without eye

Black the within tongue

Black was the heart

Black the liver, Black the lungs

Unable to suck in light.

Black the blood in its loud tunnel

Black the bowels packed in furnace

Black too the muscles

Striving to pull out into light

Black the nerves, Black the brain

With its tombed visions

Black also the soul, the huge stammer

Of the cry that, swelling, could not

Pronounce its sun.

He was well equipped to make his creation stories for kids, like How the Whale Became etc. Also his Ovid. And the Iron Man and Iron Woman.



  1. Anonymous said

    Deserves many blogs, in fact. Did you know he was thought “pulp” literature? Stupic critics.

  2. Simon G said

    I didn’t know that. He’s one of those people that makes me think, how did he get ALL THAT done in one lifetime?
    On wikipedia, Seamus Heaney, another giant poet (who with Hughes compiled two brilliant poetry collections, The Rattle Bag and The School Bag):

    “No death outside my immediate family has left me feeling more bereft. No death in my lifetime has hurt poets more. He was a tower of tenderness and strength, a great arch under which the least of poetry’s children could enter and feel secure. His creative powers were, as Shakespeare said, still crescent. By his death, the veil of poetry is rent and the walls of learning broken.”

  3. Simon G said

    Another Hughes poem:

    ‘Full Moon and Little Frieda”

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

    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 the 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.

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