Academic journal article The Hudson Review

Sylvia and Ted (1963)

Academic journal article The Hudson Review

Sylvia and Ted (1963)

Article excerpt

Upon reading a biography of Ted Hughes given to me by Kerry Hardie in Dublin

They say you cannot pin the tale of her sorrow to his donkey,

cannot disengage her Cleopatra from his asp,

that we must disregard the sound of her typing up his stories

in the cold Boston winter of 1958, glossy recipes

clipped from magazines for sophisticated young ladies

to appease her father's ghost and her marvelous man.

Alas, life and works disintegrate alike when Sylvia departs,

absent her ardor the biography slogs and equivocates

to rationalize the prerogatives of a British gentleman,

after all it is 1967

and we are very modem, it is 1970

and his amorous peregrinations seem incommensurate

with even the most cursory code of interpersonal ethics,

tragedy rendered absurd by a cloak

of narcissistic mysticism and astrological predestination,

the maraudings of an unencumbered masculine ego

like an ambulatory Ogham stone rampaging across the moors

leaving a trail of crushed geese, mangled hedgehogs

and farmers' daughters ravished in its wake. …

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