Treasure Island

Ted Hughes

(1930 - 1998 / West Yorkshire / England)

Quotations

  • ''Underwater eyes, an eel's
    Oil of water body, neither fish nor beast is the otter:''
    Ted Hughes (b. 1930), British poet. An Otter (l. 1-2). . . Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, The. Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair, eds. (2d ed., 1988) W. W. Norton & Company.
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  • ''he will lick
    The fishbone bare. And can take stolen hold

    On a bitch otter in a field full
    Of nervous horses, but linger nowhere.
    Yanked above hounds, reverts to nothing at all,
    To this long pelt over the back of a chair.''
    Ted Hughes (b. 1930), British poet. An Otter (l. 35-40). . . Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, The. Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair, eds. (2d ed., 1988) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''The heart beats thick,
    Big trout muscle out of the dead cold;''
    Ted Hughes (b. 1930), British poet. An Otter (l. 33-34). . . Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, The. Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair, eds. (2d ed., 1988) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''So the self under the eye lies,
    Attendant and withdrawn.''
    Ted Hughes (b. 1930), British poet. An Otter (l. 27-28). . . Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, The. Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair, eds. (2d ed., 1988) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''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.''
    Ted Hughes (b. 1930), British poet. Hawk Roosting (l. 12-17). . . Oxford Book of Twentieth-Century English Verse, The. Philip Larkin, ed. (1973) Oxford University Press.
  • ''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.''
    Ted Hughes (b. 1930), British poet. Hawk Roosting (l. 1-4). . . Oxford Book of Twentieth-Century English Verse, The. Philip Larkin, ed. (1973) Oxford University Press.
  • ''The mouth of the drowned dog. After long rain the land
    Was sodden as the bed of an ancient lake,
    Treed with iron and birdless.''
    Ted Hughes (b. 1930), British poet. November (l. 1-3). . . Norton Anthology of Poetry, The. Alexander W. Allison and others, eds. (3d ed., 1983) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''Minute after minute, aeon after aeon,
    Nothing lets up or develops.
    And this is neither a bad variant nor a tryout.
    This is where the staring angels go through.
    This is where all the stars bow down.''
    Ted Hughes (b. 1930), British poet. Pibroch (l. 21-25). . . Oxford Anthology of English Literature, The, Vols. I-II. Frank Kermode and John Hollander, general eds. (1973) Oxford University Press (Also published as six paperback vols.: Medieval English Literature, J. B. Trapp, ed.; The Literature of Renaissance England, John Hollander and Frank Kermode, eds.; The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century, Martin Price, ed.; Romantic Poetry and Prose, Harold Bloom and Lionel Trilling, eds.; Victorian Prose and Poetry, Lionel Trilling and Harold Bloom, eds.; Modern British Literature, Frank Kermode and John Hollander, eds.).
  • ''The sea cries with its meaningless voice,
    Treating alike its dead and its living,''
    Ted Hughes (b. 1930), British poet. Pibroch (l. 1-2). . . Oxford Anthology of English Literature, The, Vols. I-II. Frank Kermode and John Hollander, general eds. (1973) Oxford University Press (Also published as six paperback vols.: Medieval English Literature, J. B. Trapp, ed.; The Literature of Renaissance England, John Hollander and Frank Kermode, eds.; The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century, Martin Price, ed.; Romantic Poetry and Prose, Harold Bloom and Lionel Trilling, eds.; Victorian Prose and Poetry, Lionel Trilling and Harold Bloom, eds.; Modern British Literature, Frank Kermode and John Hollander, eds.).
  • ''The jaws' hooked clamp and fangs
    Not to be changed at this date;
    A life subdued to its instrument;''
    Ted Hughes (b. 1930), British poet. Pike (l. 13-15). . . Oxford Book of Twentieth-Century English Verse, The. Philip Larkin, ed. (1973) Oxford University Press.

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Relic

I found this jawbone at the sea's edge:
There, crabs, dogfish, broken by the breakers or tossed
To flap for half an hour and turn to a crust
Continue the beginning. The deeps are cold:
In that darkness camaraderie does not hold.

Nothing touches but, clutching, devours. And the jaws,
Before they are satisfied or their stretched purpose
Slacken, go down jaws; go gnawn bare. Jaws

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