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The Warm and the Cold

Written by: Ted Hughes | Biography
 | Quotes (1) |
 Freezing dusk is closing
 Like a slow trap of steel
On trees and roads and hills and all
 That can no longer feel.
 But the carp is in its depth
 Like a planet in its heaven.
 And the badger in its bedding
 Like a loaf in the oven.
 And the butterfly in its mummy
 Like a viol in its case.
 And the owl in its feathers
 Like a doll in its lace. 

Freezing dusk has tightened
 Like a nut screwed tight
On the starry aeroplane
 Of the soaring night.
 But the trout is in its hole
 Like a chuckle in a sleeper.
 The hare strays down the highway
 Like a root going deeper.
 The snail is dry in the outhouse
 Like a seed in a sunflower.
 The owl is pale on the gatepost
 Like a clock on its tower. 

Moonlight freezes the shaggy world
 Like a mammoth of ice - 
The past and the future
 Are the jaws of a steel vice.
 But the cod is in the tide-rip
 Like a key in a purse.
 The deer are on the bare-blown hill
 Like smiles on a nurse.
 The flies are behind the plaster
 Like the lost score of a jig.
 Sparrows are in the ivy-clump
 Like money in a pig. 

Such a frost
 The flimsy moon
 Has lost her wits. 

 A star falls. 

The sweating farmers
 Turn in their sleep
 Like oxen on spits.