Ted Hughes Quotes

Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Categories: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Every single person is vulnerable to unexpected defeat in this inmost emotional self. At every moment, behind the most efficient seeming adult exterior, the whole world of the person's childhood is being carefully held like a glass of water bulging above the brim. And in fact, that child is the only real thing in them. It's their humanity, their real individuality, the one that can't understand why it was born and that knows it will have to die, in no matter how crowded a place, quite on its own. That's the carrier of all the living qualities. It's the centre of all the possible magic and revelation.

-Ted Hughes


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I had let it all grow. I had supposed It was all OK. Your life Was a liner I voyaged in. Costly education had fitted you out. Financiers and committees and consultants Effaced themselves in the gleam of your finish. You trembled with the new life of those engines. That first morning, Before your first class at College, you sat there Sipping coffee. Now I know, as I did not, What eyes waited at the back of the class To check your first professional performance Against their expectations. What assessors Waited to see you justify the cost And redeem their gamble. What a furnace Of eyes waited to prove your metal. I watched The strange dummy stiffness, the misery, Of your blue flannel suit, its straitjacket, ugly Half-approximation to your idea Of the properties you hoped to ease into, And your horror in it. And the tanned Almost green undertinge of your face Shrunk to its wick, your scar lumpish, your plaited Head pathetically tiny. You waited, Knowing yourself helpless in the tweezers Of the life that judges you, and I saw The flayed nerve, the unhealable face-wound Which was all you had for courage. I saw that what you gripped, as you sipped, Were terrors that killed you once already. Now I see, I saw, sitting, the lonely Girl who was going to die. That blue suit. A mad, execution uniform, Survived your sentence. But then I sat, stilled, Unable to fathom what stilled you As I looked at you, as I am stilled Permanently now, permanently Bending so briefly at your open coffin.

Ted Hughes
Everybody tries to protect this vulnerable two three four five six seven eight year old inside, and to acquire skills and aptitudes for dealing with the situations that threaten to overwhelm it... Usually, that child is a wretchedly isolated undeveloped little being. It's been protected by the efficient armour, it's never participated in life, it's never been exposed to living and to managing the person's affairs, it's never been given responsibility for taking the brunt. And it's never properly lived. That's how it is in almost everybody. And that little creature is sitting there, behind the armour, peering through the slits. And in its own self, it is still unprotected, incapable, inexperienced... And in fact, that child is the only real thing in them. It's their humanity, their real individuality, the one that can't understand why it was born and that knows it will have to die, in no matter how crowded a place, quite on its own. That's the carrier of all the living qualities. It's the centre of all the possible magic and revelation. What doesn't come out of that creature isn't worth having, or it's worth having only as a tool-for that creature to use and turn to account and make meaningful... And so, wherever life takes it by surprise, and suddenly the artificial self of adaptations proves inadequate, and fails to ward off the invasion of raw experience, that inner self is thrown into the front line-unprepared, with all its childhood terrors round its ears. And yet that's the moment it wants. That's where it comes alive-even if only to be overwhelmed and bewildered and hurt. And that's where it calls up its own resources-not artificial aids, picked up outside, but real inner resources, real biological ability to cope, and to turn to account, and to enjoy. That's the paradox: the only time most people feel alive is when they're suffering, when something overwhelms their ordinary, careful armour, and the naked child is flung out onto the world. That's why the things that are worst to undergo are best to remember. But when that child gets buried away under their adaptive and protective shells-he becomes one of the walking dead, a monster. So when you realise you've gone a few weeks and haven't felt that awful struggle of your childish self-struggling to lift itself out of its inadequacy and incompetence-you'll know you've gone some weeks without meeting new challenge, and without growing, and that you've gone some weeks towards losing touch with yourself.

Ted Hughes
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A March Calf Right from the start he is dressed in his best - his blacks and his whites Little Fauntleroy - quiffed and glossy, A Sunday suit, a wedding natty get-up, Standing in dunged straw Under cobwebby beams, near the mud wall, Half of him legs, Shining-eyed, requiring nothing more But that mother's milk come back often. Everything else is in order, just as it is. Let the summer skies hold off, for the moment. This is just as he wants it. A little at a time, of each new thing, is best. Too much and too sudden is too frightening - When I block the light, a bulk from space, To let him in to his mother for a suck, He bolts a yard or two, then freezes, Staring from every hair in all directions, Ready for the worst, shut up in his hopeful religion, A little syllogism With a wet blue-reddish muzzle, for God's thumb. You see all his hopes bustling As he reaches between the worn rails towards The topheavy oven of his mother. He trembles to grow, stretching his curl-tip tongue - What did cattle ever find here To make this dear little fellow So eager to prepare himself? He is already in the race, and quivering to win - His new purpled eyeball swivel-jerks In the elbowing push of his plans. Hungry people are getting hungrier, Butchers developing expertise and markets, But he just wobbles his tail - and glistens Within his dapper profile Unaware of how his whole lineage Has been tied up. He shivers for feel of the world licking his side. He is like an ember - one glow Of lighting himself up With the fuel of himself, breathing and brightening. Soon he'll plunge out, to scatter his seething joy, To be present at the grass, To be free on the surface of such a wideness, To find himself. To stand. To moo.

Ted Hughes
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