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Best Famous Ted Hughes Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Ted Hughes poems. This is a select list of the best famous Ted Hughes poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Ted Hughes poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Ted Hughes poems.

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Written by Ted Hughes |

The Harvest Moon

The flame-red moon, the harvest moon,
Rolls along the hills, gently bouncing,
A vast balloon,
Till it takes off, and sinks upward
To lie on the bottom of the sky, like a gold doubloon.
The harvest moon has come, Booming softly through heaven, like a bassoon.
And the earth replies all night, like a deep drum.
So people can't sleep, So they go out where elms and oak trees keep A kneeling vigil, in a religious hush.
The harvest moon has come! And all the moonlit cows and all the sheep Stare up at her petrified, while she swells Filling heaven, as if red hot, and sailing Closer and closer like the end of the world.
Till the gold fields of stiff wheat Cry `We are ripe, reap us!' and the rivers Sweat from the melting hills.

Written by Ted Hughes |


 This house has been far out at sea all night,
The woods crashing through darkness, the booming hills,
Winds stampeding the fields under the window
Floundering black astride and blinding wet 

Till day rose; then under an orange sky
The hills had new places, and wind wielded
Blade-light, luminous black and emerald,
Flexing like the lens of a mad eye.
At noon I scaled along the house-side as far as The coal-house door.
Once I looked up - Through the brunt wind that dented the balls of my eyes The tent of the hills drummed and strained its guyrope, The fields quivering, the skyline a grimace, At any second to bang and vanish with a flap; The wind flung a magpie away and a black- Back gull bent like an iron bar slowly.
The house Rang like some fine green goblet in the note That any second would shatter it.
Now deep In chairs, in front of the great fire, we grip Our hearts and cannot entertain book, thought, Or each other.
We watch the fire blazing, And feel the roots of the house move, but sit on, Seeing the window tremble to come in, Hearing the stones cry out under the horizons.

Written by Ted Hughes |

The Owl

 When cats run home and light is come,
And dew is cold upon the ground,
And the far-off stream is dumb,
And the whirring sail goes round,
And the whirring sail goes round;
Alone and warming his five wits,
The white owl in the belfry sits.
When merry milkmaids click the latch, And rarely smells the new-mown hay, And the cock hath sung beneath the thatch Twice or thrice his roundelay, Twice or thrice his roundelay; Alone and warming his five wits, The white owl in the belfry sits.

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Written by Ted Hughes |

Crow Goes Hunting

Decided to try words.
He imagined some words for the job, a lovely pack- Clear-eyed, resounding, well-trained, With strong teeth.
You could not find a better bred lot.
He pointed out the hare and away went the words Resounding.
Crow was Crow without fail, but what is a hare? It converted itself to a concrete bunker.
The words circled protesting, resounding.
Crow turned the words into bombs-they blasted the bunker.
The bits of bunker flew up-a flock of starlings.
Crow turned the words into shotguns, they shot down the starlings.
The falling starlings turned to a cloudburst.
Crow turned the words into a reservoir, collecting the water.
The water turned into an earthquake, swallowing the reservoir.
The earthquake turned into a hare and leaped for the hill Having eaten Crow's words.
Crow gazed after the bounding hare Speechless with admiration.

Written by Ted Hughes |

Spring and Fall: To A Young Child

 Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving? 
Leaves, like the things of man, you 
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you? 
Ah! as the heart grows older 
It will come to such sights colder 
By & by, nor spare a sigh 
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie; 
And yet you wíll weep & know why.
Now no matter, child, the name: Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed What héart héard of, ghóst guéssed: It is the blight man was born for, It is Margaret you mourn for.

Written by Ted Hughes |

The Owl

 I saw my world again through your eyes
As I would see it again through your children's eyes.
Through your eyes it was foreign.
Plain hedge hawthorns were peculiar aliens, A mystery of peculiar lore and doings.
Anything wild, on legs, in your eyes Emerged at a point of exclamation As if it had appeared to dinner guests In the middle of the table.
Common mallards Were artefacts of some unearthliness, Their wooings were a hypnagogic film Unreeled by the river.
Impossible To comprehend the comfort of their feet In the freezing water.
You were a camera Recording reflections you could not fathom.
I made my world perform its utmost for you.
You took it all in with an incredulous joy Like a mother handed her new baby By the midwife.
Your frenzy made me giddy.
It woke up my dumb, ecstatic boyhood Of fifteen years before.
My masterpiece Came that black night on the Grantchester road.
I sucked the throaty thin woe of a rabbit Out of my wetted knuckle, by a copse Where a tawny owl was enquiring.
Suddenly it swooped up, splaying its pinions Into my face, taking me for a post.

Written by Ted Hughes |

Crows Nerve Fails

 Crow, feeling his brain slip, 
Finds his every feather the fossil of a murder.
Who murdered all these? These living dead, that root in his nerves and his blood Till he is visibly black? How can he fly from his feathers? And why have they homed on him? Is he the archive of their accusations? Or their ghostly purpose, their pining vengeance? Or their unforgiven prisoner? He cannot be forgiven.
His prison is the earth.
Clothed in his conviction, Trying to remember his crimes Heavily he flies.

Written by Ted Hughes |

Work and Play

 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.

Written by Ted Hughes |

The Owl

 The path was purple in the dusk.
I saw an owl, perched, on a branch.
And when the owl stirred, a fine dust fell from its wings.
I was silent then.
And felt the owl quaver.
And at dawn, waking, the path was green in the May light.

Written by Ted Hughes |

The Warm and the Cold

 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.

Written by Ted Hughes |

Examination at the Womb-Door

 Who owns those scrawny little feet? Death.
Who owns this bristly scorched-looking face? Death.
Who owns these still-working lungs? Death.
Who owns this utility coat of muscles? Death.
Who owns these unspeakable guts? Death.
Who owns these questionable brains? Death.
All this messy blood? Death.
These minimum-efficiency eyes? Death.
This wicked little tongue? Death.
This occasional wakefulness? Death.
Given, stolen, or held pending trial? Held.
Who owns the whole rainy, stony earth? Death.
Who owns all of space? Death.
Who is stronger than hope? Death.
Who is stronger than the will? Death.
Stronger than love? Death.
Stronger than life? Death.
But who is stronger than Death? Me, evidently.
Pass, Crow.

Written by Ted Hughes |

Old Age Gets Up

 Stirs its ashes and embers, its burnt sticks

An eye powdered over, half melted and solid again
Ideas that collapse
At the first touch of attention

The light at the window, so square and so same
So full-strong as ever, the window frame
A scaffold in space, for eyes to lean on

Supporting the body, shaped to its old work
Making small movements in gray air
Numbed from the blurred accident
Of having lived, the fatal, real injury
Under the amnesia

Something tries to save itself-searches
For defenses-but words evade
Like flies with their own notions

Old age slowly gets dressed
Heavily dosed with death's night
Sits on the bed's edge

Pulls its pieces together
Loosely tucks in its shirt

Written by Ted Hughes |

Apple Tragedy

So on the seventh day
The serpent rested, 
God came up to him.
"I've invented a new game," he said.
The serpent stared in surprise At this interloper.
But God said: "You see this apple?" I squeeze it and look-cider.
" The serpent had a good drink And curled up into a question mark.
Adam drank and said: "Be my god.
" Eve drank and opened her legs And called to the cockeyed serpent And gave him a wild time.
God ran and told Adam Who in drunken rage tried to hang himself in the orchard.
The serpent tried to explain, crying "Stop" But drink was splitting his syllable.
And Eve started screeching: "Rape! Rape!" And stamping on his head.
Now whenever the snake appears she screeches "Here it comes again! Help! O Help!" Then Adam smashes a chair on his head, And God says: "I am well pleased" And everything goes to hell.

Written by Ted Hughes |

Crow and the Sea

He tried ignoring the sea 
But it was bigger than death, just as it was bigger than life.
He tried talking to the sea But his brain shuttered and his eyes winced from it as from open flame.
He tried sympathy for the sea But it shouldered him off - as a dead thing shoulders you off.
He tried hating the sea But instantly felt like a scrutty dry rabbit-dropping on the windy cliff.
He tried just being in the same world as the sea But his lungs were not deep enough And his cheery blood banged off it Like a water-drop off a hot stove.
Finally He turned his back and he marched away from the sea As a crucified man cannot move.

Written by Ted Hughes |

Crow Sickene

His illness was something could not vomit him up.
Unwinding the world like a ball of wool Found the last end tied round his own finger.
Decided to get death, but whatever Walked into his ambush Was always his own body.
Where is this somebody who has me under? He dived, he journeyed, challenging, he climbed and with a glare Of hair on end finally met fear.
His eyes sealed up with shock, refusing to see.
With all his strength he struck.
He felt the blow.
Horrified, he fell.