Ted Hughes

Infamous Poet
—for Ted Hughes

Look at me—am I a monster?
What monstrosity?—am I not
Just a man—an ordinary fool?

Neither thin—nor fat
I’ve always been—an apprentice
Sylvia taught me—everything

My demeanor—that of a mouse
I didn’t mind—Sylvia being my
Dominatrix—I was her slave

First scrutinize—my eyes
For any spark—of meanness
I was—more pussy than Sylvia

Notice the—haggard exhaustion
On my stony face—how I slump
In the chair—drained dry by love

I used to be—a young wild
Dreg-boozed—Cambridge demon
A dirty little—Casanova prick

The women—just ask them
Was I a monster—well maybe
In bed—I did wreck hearts

But this dull—old world
Maybe it needed—some male
Pyrotechnics—some humiliation?

I was full of—youth & obscurity
I lacked Sylvia’s—autoclave of
Hot building-up—ambition

She made me—take baths
Typed up my—thought-fox mss
Got me published—I was amazed

Nobody had ever—cared for me
Not that way—the American way
Thinking about me—loving me

I was a dummy—lumbering
Around like—a Stegosaurus
Sylvia Plath—just smiled

Mytholmroyd—was full of
Young has-been—local poets
It still is—lost slackers

Sylvia made me—professional
Soon I had a—Guggenheim
Eliot published my—Lupercal

I fought it—tooth and nail
It’s hard for a—Yorkshire youth
To grow up—so fast and soon

I blinked—like Rilke’s panther
Behind bars—knowing I’d finally
Met my Other—White Goddess

I betrayed—my Ariel lover tho
I became—a chicken-shit monster
I wrecked her life—and mine

Like Alvarez said—cloudy weather
Hovered over my head—wherever
I went—my instinctual blood-jet

Inserted me—into Stillness
All I had to do—was trust my
Intuition—Stasis in Darkness

I got jaded—green Adam
How the world—shifted my
Clarities—women my weakness

I lost her—my lucky Godiva
She rode away—one London
Morning—when the pipes froze

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