Hammer Film Femme Fatale


—for Sylvia Plath

“I see her as a kind
of Hammer Films poet”
—Philip Larkin
Letter to Judy Egerton
10 June 1960

She didn’t imagine it—
something else was there 

Beside the ticking clock—
I moved onto her blank page 

Something more nearer—
than the darkness inside her

Yorkshire was stalking her—
coldly, delicately in the dark

I had two wolf eyes—
I was getting closer & closer

Soon I would be inside her—
then there’d be no turning back

She felt me up down there—
where a man knows he’s a man

Her eyes became my eyes—
we were deep inside the forest now

Her wolf eyes saw everything—
now & again now, & now, & now 

Neat prints into the snow—
between trees, she learned to lurk

Shadows by stump dark in hollows 
with my new bold wolfish lady 

Across a clearing, I saw her—
All concerned with her business

A widening deepening naivete—
silly girl so brilliant & poetic

Desiring to be a British poet—
little could she possibly know

Another ambitious American—
a Hammer film femme fatale 

Till, with a sudden sharp stink—
of wolf she realized the truth

Her Mytholmroyd wolf—
he’d eat her up alive

We ancient Yorkshire wolves—
thrived on Fulbright scholars

We ate ‘em alive & screamy—
innocent naïve American rubes

Little Red Riding Hood poetesses—
thinking Arial could save them

Sticking her head in the oven—
deep in there with my help

And so the clock ticked—
this page gets printed.

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