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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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by Ted Hughes | |

Crow and Mama

When Crow cried his mother's ear 
Scorched to a stump.
When he laughed she wept Blood her breasts her palms her brow all wept blood.
He tried a step, then a step, and again a step - Every one scarred her face for ever.
When he burst out in rage She fell back with an awful gash and a fearful cry.
When he stopped she closed on him like a book On a bookmark, he had to get going.
He jumped into the car the towrope Was around her neck he jumped out.
He jumped into the plane but her body was jammed in the jet - There was a great row, the flight was cancelled.
He jumped into the rocket and its trajectory Drilled clean through her heart he kept on And it was cosy in the rocket, he could not see much But he peered out through the portholes at Creation And saw the stars millions of miles away And saw the future and the universe Opening and opening And kept on and slept and at last Crashed on the moon awoke and crawled out Under his mother's buttocks.


by Ted Hughes | |

Crow Blacker than ever

When God, disgusted with man, 
Turned towards heaven.
And man, disgusted with God, Turned towards Eve, Things looked like falling apart.
But Crow .
.
Crow Crow nailed them together, Nailing Heaven and earth together - So man cried, but with God's voice.
And God bled, but with man's blood.
Then heaven and earth creaked at the joint Which became gangrenous and stank - A horror beyond redemption.
The agony did not diminish.
Man could not be man nor God God.
The agony Grew.
Crow Grinned Crying: 'This is my Creation,' Flying the black flag of himself.


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.


More great poems below...

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.


by Ted Hughes | |

Crow Goes Hunting

Crow
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.


by Ted Hughes | |

Crows Theology

Crow realized God loved him-
Otherwise, he would have dropped dead.
So that was proved.
Crow reclined, marvelling, on his heart-beat.
And he realized that God spoke Crow- Just existing was His revelation.
But what Loved the stones and spoke stone? They seemed to exist too.
And what spoke that strange silence After his clamour of caws faded? And what loved the shot-pellets That dribbled from those strung-up mummifying crows? What spoke the silence of lead? Crow realized there were two Gods- One of them much bigger than the other Loving his enemies And having all the weapons.


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.


by Ted Hughes | |

Crow Communes

"Well," said Crow, "What first?" 
God, exhausted with Creation, snored.
"Which way?" said Crow, "Which way first?" God's shoulder was the mountain on which Crow sat.
"Come," said Crow, "Let's discuss the situation.
" God lay, agape, a great carcass.
Crow tore off a mouthful and swallowed.
"Will this cipher divulge itself to digestion Under hearing beyond understanding?" (That was the first jest.
) Yet, it's true, he suddenly felt much stronger.
Crow, the hierophant, humped, impenetrable.
Half-illumined.
Speechless.
(Appalled.
)


by Ted Hughes | |

Crows Fall

When Crow was white he decided the sun was too white.
He decided it glared much too whitely.
He decided to attack it and defeat it.
He got his strength flush and in full glitter.
He clawed and fluffed his rage up.
He aimed his beak direct at the sun's centre.
He laughed himself to the centre of himself And attacked.
At his battle cry trees grew suddenly old, Shadows flattened.
But the sun brightened- It brightened, and Crow returned charred black.
He opened his mouth but what came out was charred black.
"Up there," he managed, "Where white is black and black is white, I won.
"


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.


by Ted Hughes | |

Hawk Roosting

I sit in the top of the wood, my eyes closed.
Inaction, no falsifying dream Between my hooked head and hooked feet: Or in sleep rehearse perfect kills and eat.
The convenience of the high trees! The air's buoyancy and the sun's ray Are of advantage to me; And the earth's face upward for my inspection.
My feet are locked upon the rough bark.
It took the whole of Creation To produce my foot, my each feather: Now I hold Creation in my foot Or fly up, and revolve it all slowly - I kill where I please because it is all mine.
There is no sophistry in my body: My manners are tearing off heads - The allotment of death.
For the one path of my flight is direct Through the bones of the living.
No arguments assert my right: The sun is behind me.
Nothing has changed since I began.
My eye has permitted no change.
I am going to keep things like this.


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.


by Ted Hughes | |

The Owl

 DOWNHILL I came, hungry, and yet not starved, 
Cold, yet had heat within me that was proof 
Against the north wind; tired, yet so that rest 
Had seemed the sweetest thing under a roof.
Then at the inn I had food, fire, and rest, Knowing how hungry, cold, and tired was I.
All of the night was quite barred out except An owl's cry, a most melancholy cry.
Shaken out long and clear upon the hill No merry note, nor cause of merriment, But one telling me plain what I escaped And others could not, that night, as in I went.
And salted was my food, and my repose, Salted and sobered too, by the bird's voice Speaking for all who lay under the stars, Soldiers and poor, unable to rejoice.


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.


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.


by Ted Hughes | |

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.


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.


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.


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.


by Ted Hughes | |

Thistles

 Against the rubber tongues of cows and the hoeing hands of men
Thistles spike the summer air
And crackle open under a blue-black pressure.
Every one a revengeful burst Of resurrection, a grasphed fistful Of splintered weapons and Icelandic frost thrust up From the underground stain of a decayed Viking.
They are like pale hair and the gutturals of dialects.
Every one manages a plume of blood.
Then they grow grey like men.
Mown down, it is a feud.
Their sons appear Stiff with weapons, fighting back over the same ground.


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.


by Ted Hughes | |

A Woman Unconscious

 Russia and America circle each other;
Threats nudge an act that were without doubt 
A melting of the mould in the mother,
Stones melting about the root.
The quick of the earth burned out: The toil of all our ages a loss With leaf and insect.
Yet flitting thought (Not to be thought ridiculous) Shies from the world-cancelling black Of its playing shadow: it has learned That there's no trusting (trusting to luck) Dates when the world's due to be burned; That the future's no calamitous change But a malingering of now, Histories, towns, faces that no Malice or accident much derange.
And though bomb be matched against bomb, Though all mankind wince out and nothing endure -- Earth gone in an instant flare -- Did a lesser death come Onto the white hospital bed Where one, numb beyond her last of sense, Closed her eyes on the world's evidence And into pillows sunk her head.


by Ted Hughes | |

Earth-Moon

 Once upon a time there was a person
He was walking along
He met the full burning moon
Rolling slowly twoards him
Crushing the stones and houses by the wayside.
She shut his eyes from the glare.
He drew his dagger And stabbed and stabbed and stabbed.
The cry that quit the moon's wounds Circled the earth.
The moon shrank, like a punctured airship, Shrank, shrank, smaller, smaller, Till it was nothing But a silk handkerchief, torn, And wet as tears.
The person picked it up.
He walked on Into moonless night Carrying his strange trophy.


by Ted Hughes | |

Thrushes

 Terrifying are the attent sleek thrushes on the lawn,
More coiled steel than living - a poised
Dark deadly eye, those delicate legs
Triggered to stirrings beyond sense - with a start, a bounce, 
a stab
Overtake the instant and drag out some writhing thing.
No indolent procrastinations and no yawning states, No sighs or head-scratchings.
Nothing but bounce and stab And a ravening second.
Is it their single-mind-sized skulls, or a trained Body, or genius, or a nestful of brats Gives their days this bullet and automatic Purpose? Mozart's brain had it, and the shark's mouth That hungers down the blood-smell even to a leak of its own Side and devouring of itself: efficiency which Strikes too streamlined for any doubt to pluck at it Or obstruction deflect.
With a man it is otherwise.
Heroisms on horseback, Outstripping his desk-diary at a broad desk, Carving at a tiny ivory ornament For years: his act worships itself - while for him, Though he bends to be blent in the prayer, how loud and above what Furious spaces of fire do the distracting devils Orgy and hosannah, under what wilderness Of black silent waters weep.


by Ted Hughes | |

Bride and Groom Lie Hidden for Three Days

 She gives him his eyes, she found them
Among some rubble, among some beetles

He gives her her skin
He just seemed to pull it down out of the air and lay it over her
She weeps with fearfulness and astonishment

She has found his hands for him, and fitted them freshly at the wrists
They are amazed at themselves, they go feeling all over her

He has assembled her spine, he cleaned each piece carefully
And sets them in perfect order
A superhuman puzzle but he is inspired
She leans back twisting this way and that, using it and laughing
Incredulous

Now she has brought his feet, she is connecting them
So that his whole body lights up

And he has fashioned her new hips
With all fittings complete and with newly wound coils, all shiningly oiled
He is polishing every part, he himself can hardly believe it

They keep taking each other to the sun, they find they can easily
To test each new thing at each new step

And now she smoothes over him the plates of his skull
So that the joints are invisible

And now he connects her throat, her breasts and the pit of her stomach
With a single wire

She gives him his teeth, tying the the roots to the centrepin of his body

He sets the little circlets on her fingertips

She stiches his body here and there with steely purple silk

He oils the delicate cogs of her mouth

She inlays with deep cut scrolls the nape of his neck

He sinks into place the inside of her thighs

So, gasping with joy, with cries of wonderment
Like two gods of mud
Sprawling in the dirt, but with infinite care
They bring each other to perfection.