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Work and Play

Written by: Ted Hughes | Biography
 | Quotes (1) |
 The swallow of summer, she toils all the summer,
A blue-dark knot of glittering voltage,
A whiplash swimmer, a fish of the air.
But the serpent of cars that crawls through the dust In shimmering exhaust Searching to slake Its fever in ocean Will play and be idle or else it will bust.
The swallow of summer, the barbed harpoon, She flings from the furnace, a rainbow of purples, Dips her glow in the pond and is perfect.
But the serpent of cars that collapsed on the beach Disgorges its organs A scamper of colours Which roll like tomatoes Nude as tomatoes With sand in their creases To cringe in the sparkle of rollers and screech.
The swallow of summer, the seamstress of summer, She scissors the blue into shapes and she sews it, She draws a long thread and she knots it at the corners.
But the holiday people Are laid out like wounded Flat as in ovens Roasting and basting With faces of torment as space burns them blue Their heads are transistors Their teeth grit on sand grains Their lost kids are squalling While man-eating flies Jab electric shock needles but what can they do? They can climb in their cars with raw bodies, raw faces And start up the serpent And headache it homeward A car full of squabbles And sobbing and stickiness With sand in their crannies Inhaling petroleum That pours from the foxgloves While the evening swallow The swallow of summer, cartwheeling through crimson, Touches the honey-slow river and turning Returns to the hand stretched from under the eaves - A boomerang of rejoicing shadow.



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