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'Last Letter' - by Ted Hughes [09 Oct 2010|10:15am]

I am still banned, seemingly for life, from sylvia_plath, which is a shame because I could've posted the whole poem instead of the few lines they have. If anyone is in that community, please repost with my permission (tell them opheliablue sent you!)

Channel 4 News Item

New Statesmen - drafts of poem and some stupid comments - prize for the best! "A selfish, self-involved, self-indulgent navel-gazer with daddy issues offed herself leaving her kids without a mother because the world revolved around her and it wasn't paying enough attention for her liking. Really, is there anything more to know..."

Last Letter


What happened that night? Your final night.

Double, treble exposure

Over everything. Late afternoon, Friday,

My last sight of you alive.

Burning your letter to me, in the ashtray,

With that strange smile. Had I bungled your plan?

Had it surprised me sooner than you purposed?

Had I rushed it back to you too promptly?

One hour later--- you would have been gone

Where I could not have traced you.

I would have turned from your locked red door

That nobody would open

Still holding your letter,

A thunderbolt that could not earth itself.

That would have been electric shock treatment

For me.

Repeated over and over, all weekend.

As often as I read it, or thought of it.

That would have remade my brains, and my life.

The treatment that you planned needed some time.

I cannot imagine

How I would have got through that weekend.

I cannot imagine. Had you plotted it all?


Your note reached me too soon---that same day,

Friday afternoon, posted in the morning.

The prevalent devils expedited it.

That was one more stroke of ill-luck

Drawn against you by the Post Office

And added to your load. I moved fast,

Through the snow-blue, February, London twilight.

Wept with relief when you opened the door.

A huddle of riddles in solution. Precocious tears

That failed to interpret to me, failed to divulge

Their real import. But what did you say

Over the smoking shards of that letter

So carefully annihilated, so calmly,

That let me release you, and leave you

To blow its ashes off your plan---off the ashtray

Against which you would lean for me to read

The Doctor’s phone number.

                              My escape

Had become such a hunted thing

Sleepless, hopeless, all its dreams exhausted,

Only wanting to be recaptured, only

Wanting to drop out of its vacuum.

Two days of dangling nothing. Two days gratis.

Two days in no calendar, but stolen

From no world.Beyond actuality, feeling, or name.


My love-life grabbed it.

My numbered love-life

With its mad needles,

Embroidering their rose, piercing and tugging

At their tapestry, their bloody tattoo

Somewhere behind my navel.

Treading that morass of emblazon

Two mad needles, criss-crossing their stitches,

Selecting among my nerves

For their colours, refashioning me

Inside my own skin, each refashioning the other

With their self-caricatures.


Their obsessed in and out. Two women

Each with her needle.


                               That night

My dellarobbia Susan. I moved

With the circumspection

Of a flame in a fuse. My whole fury

Was an abandoned effort to blow up

The old globe where shadows bent over

My telltale track of ashes, I raced

From and from, face backwards, a film reversed,

Towards what? We went to Rugby St

Where you and I began.

Why did we go there? Of all places

Why did we go there? Perversity

In the artistry of our fate

Adjusted its refinements for you, for me

And for Susan. Solitaire

Played by the Minotaur of that maze

Even included Helen, in the ground-floor flat.

You had noted her---a girl for a story.

You never met her.Few ever met her,

Except across the ears and raving mask

Of her Alsatian. You had not even glimpsed her.

You had only recoiled

When her demented animal crashed its weight

Against her door, as we slipped through the hallway;

And heard it choking on infinite German hatred.


That Sunday night she eased her door open

Its few permitted inches.

Susan greeted the black eyes, the unhappy

Overweight, lovely face, that peeped out

Across the little chain. The door closed.

We heard her consoling her jailor

Inside its cell, its kennel, where, days later,

She gassed her ferocious kupo, and herself.


Susan and I spent that night

In our wedding bed. I had not seen it

Since we lay there on our wedding day.

I did not take her back to my own bed.

It had occurred to me, your weekend over,

You might appear---a surprise visitation.

Did you appear, to tap at my dark window?

So I stayed with Susan, hiding from you,

In our own wedding bed---the same from which

Within three years she would be taken to die

In that same hospital where, within twelve hours,

I would find you dead.


                                   Monday morning

I drove her to work, in the City,

Then I parked my van North of Euston Road

And returned to where my telephone waited.


What happened that night, inside your hours,

Is as unknown as if it never happened.

What accumulation of your whole life,

Like effort unconscious, like birth

Pushing through the membrane of each slow second

Into the next, happened

Only as if it could not happen.

As if it was not happening. How often

Did the phone ring there in my empty room,

You hearing the ring in your receiver---

At both ends the fading memory

Of a ringing telephone, in a brain

As if already dead. I count

How often you walked to the phone-booth

At the bottom of St George’s terrace.

You are there whenever I look, just turning

Out of Fitzroy Road, crossing over

Between the heaped up banks of dirty sugar.

In your long black coat,

With your plait coiled up at the back of your hair

You walk unable to move, or wake, and are

Already nobody walking.

Walking by the railings under Primrose Hill

Towards the phone booth that can never be reached.

Before midnight. After midnight. Again.

Again. Again. And, near dawn, again.


At what position of the hands on my watch-face

Did your last attempt,

Already deeply past

My being able to hear it, shake the pillow

Of that empty bed? A last time

Lightly touch at my books, and my papers?

By the time I got there my phone was asleep.

The pillow innocent. My room slept,

Already filled with the snowlit morning light.

I lit my fire. I had got out my papers.

And I had started to write when the telephone

Jerked awake, in a jabbering alarm,

Remembering everything. It recovered in my hand.

Then a voice like a selected weapon

Or a measured injection,

Coolly delivered its four words

Deep into my ear: ‘Your wife is dead.’


© Ted Hughes

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hoep this is okay [31 Dec 2009|01:16am]
nonesensegirls for the eccentric types. The artists, poets and daydreamers.
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[26 Mar 2009|04:42pm]

Hello All!

It was my birthday last week and as a present, I flew over to Manchester and some friends and I took a road-trip to Heptonstall to see Sylvia Plath's grave. We read "Tulips" (my favourite poem) by the graveside and I left the little purple pot of flowers. Made me feel very sad to see the grave, sitting all alone in a country Sylvia wasn't born in. Made me wish she had been buried at home in America, at least then her Mum could have tended to the grave. Even though I've studied her and read so much about her, seeing the grave there in reality really hit home the tragedy of her life.

more photos under cutCollapse )
2 comments|post comment

Nick Hughes kills himself.. [23 Mar 2009|04:44pm]

[ mood | sad ]




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wtf_dreams - Join!! [05 Feb 2009|12:27pm]

Hope this is ok dolores, please delete if not :) x

Ever had those weird/wonderful/crazy nightmare/dreams and wanted to write about them and get possible feedback? Think other people find reading about your dreams boring? NO! We wanna hear about them here, wtf_dreams

Click on the pic to enter and join...

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Sylvia: 27 October 1932 - 11 February 1963 [28 Oct 2008|02:13pm]

(This would have been posted yesterday if I had been capable of it)

Happy what would have been SPCollapse )
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[12 Jul 2008|12:08pm]


Letter in November

Love, the world
Suddenly turns, turns color. The streetlight
Splits through the rat's tail
Pods of the laburnum at nine in the morning.
It is the Arctic,

This little black
Circle, with its tawn silk grasses -- babies hair.
There is a green in the air,
Soft, delectable.
It cushions me lovingly.

I am flushed and warm.
I think I may be enormous,
I am so stupidly happy,
My Wellingtons
Squelching and squelching through the beautiful red.

This is my property.
Two times a day
I pace it, sniffing
The barbarous holly with its viridian
Scallops, pure iron,

And the wall of the odd corpses.
I love them.
I love them like history.
The apples are golden,
Imagine it ---

My seventy trees
Holding their gold-ruddy balls
In a thick gray death-soup,
Their million
Gold leaves metal and breathless.

O love, O celibate.
Nobody but me
Walks the waist high wet.
The irreplaceable
Golds bleed and deepen, the mouths of Thermopylae.

© Sylvia Plath


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Bump-rinded cantaloupes, With orange cores. [11 Jun 2008|07:26pm]

For those of you who have read any biographies on Sylvia Plath, which ones should I stay away from and which ones are great?
4 comments|post comment

Frieda Hughes Interview [09 Jun 2008|01:05pm]

I've posted this before, but for anyone new, if you go to this page, scroll down a little, there's a Real Audio link to an hour long interview with Frieda Hughes which is very interesting - she also reads 'Ariel' and her own poem 'My Mother,' that was posted below this.

She talks about 'Birthday Letters,' the bringing out of the Restored Ariel, her feelings about the making of the fim 'Sylvia' and several quite touching things regarding the way Ted Hughes brought them up and what he did to make sure they didn't forget her.
3 comments|post comment

My Mother [07 Jun 2008|08:51pm]

They are killing her again,
She said she did it
One Year in every ten,
But they do it annually, or weekly,
Some do it daily,
Carrying her death around in their heads,
And practising it. She saves them
The trouble of their own;
They can die through her
Without ever making
The decision. My buried mother
Is up-dug for repeat performances.

Now they want to make a film
For anyone lacking the ability
To imagine the body, head in oven,
Orphaning children. Then
It can be rewound
So they can watch her die
Right from the beginning again.

The peanut-eaters, entertained
At my mother's death, will go home,
Each carrying their memory of her,
Lifeless - a souvenir.
Maybe they'll buy the video.
Watching someone on TV
Means all they have to do
Is press pause
If they want to boil a kettle,
While my mother holds her breath on screen
To finish dying after tea.

The filmmakers have collected
The body parts.
They want me to see.
But they requiere dressings to cover the joins
And disguise the prosthetics
In their remake of my mother.
They want to use her poetry
As stichting and sutures
To give it credibility.
They think I should love it-
Having her back again, they think
I should give them my mother`s words
to fill the mouth of their monster,
Their Sylvia Suicide Doll.
Who will walk and talk
And die at will,
And die, and die
And forever be dying.

© Frieda Hughes
5 comments|post comment

[23 Mar 2008|10:19am]

I have been an admirer of Sylvia Plath for sometime now but up until a few days ago I had never seen the film Sylvia. So I was wondering to those of you who have seen it how did you like it and how accurate did you think it was?

And how are you all feelings about the upcoming The Bell Jar (due out this year?) film in which Julia Stiles will be playing Esther?

Also, how do you all feel about Ted Hughes?
4 comments|post comment

SP reading 'Fever 103' and 'Black Rook In Rainy Weather' [08 Mar 2008|10:35am]

Time for more of the SP recordings - again, they're only available at YouSendIt for 7 days and they can only be downloaded 100 times. If anyone can't get them because they've expired by the time you see the links, let me know. I can either reupload them or email them. Or if anyone wants the whole thing on CD, I can make a copy and send it if you email me your snail mail address. It's very difficult to get the tape now because it's not being made anymore - so when it shows up on eBay etc. it's usually at a ridiculous price.

Fever 103

Black Rook In Rainy Weather
8 comments|post comment

YouSendIt Links to SP Reading 'Purdah' and 'A Birthday Present' [15 Feb 2008|07:24am]

Thanks imagine_peace for letting me know that those links didn't seem to allow for the files to be saved :)

YouSendIt worked this time, so here are links to 'Purdah' and 'A Birthday Present' there instead. They have to be downloaded within 7 days, but anyway, if anyone has any problems with them I can email the files.


A Birthday Present
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SP Reading 'Purdah' and 'A Birthday Present' [15 Feb 2008|01:02am]

Hi everyone - very glad to be part of the community - thank you deaddoloreshaze for making me a co-moderator.

A while ago I said that I had the SP 'Voice of the Poet' on CD now and that I'd upload it and post it in bits here. YouSendIt doesn't seem to be working at the moment so I tried a different way of uploading them and linking to them. I don't know if it'll work or not - I hope so! If it does, it'll be much easier to upload the rest of the CD and YouSendIt only allows 100 downloads, whereas if it works this way, there shouldn't be a limit to it. Anyway, please let me know if it doesn't work (or if it does!)

This post has a list of all the poems that are on the CD - I posted 'Point Shirley' and 'Ariel' in this post.

It seems to be getting almost impossible to get this tape now unless you come across it on eBay and then it's usually selling for way over what it would cost, because it's not being made anymore. If anyone wants one of the poems/some of the poems on mp3 by email, please feel free to email me at morney@gmail.com and let me know which one/s you want and I'll send them to you. Or if anyone would like the whole thing, I can make copies of the CD and send them if you email me your address. If these links work, though, I'll do them all like that because then anyone who wants to can save the readings on their computer.

If you click on the link, it *should* take you to another page where a box'll come up giving you the option to save the poem to disk.

A Birthday Present

3 comments|post comment

welcome! [13 Feb 2008|03:18pm]

say hey and hello to the new co-mod opheliablue! in celebration, i will be changing the community layout.
6 comments|post comment

Sylvia Plath, 27 October 1932 - 11 February 1963 [11 Feb 2008|05:43pm]

I have fallen a long way.

I simply cannot see where there is to get to.

Her bare/Feet seem to be saying:/We have come so far, it is over.

No More PoemsCollapse )

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The Moon and The Yew Tree + photos [17 Dec 2007|07:20pm]

"Inside the church, the saints will all be blue,"

"Separated from my house by a row of headstones.."

The Moon and The Yew Tree

This is the light of the mind, cold and planetary.
The trees of the mind are black. The light is blue.
The grasses unload their griefs on my feet as if I were God
Prickling my ankles and murmuring of their humility
Fumy, spiritous mists inhabit this place.
Separated from my house by a row of headstones.
I simply cannot see where there is to get to.

The moon is no door. It is a face in its own right,
White as a knuckle and terribly upset.
It drags the sea after it like a dark crime; it is quiet
With the O-gape of complete despair. I live here.
Twice on Sunday, the bells startle the sky --
Eight great tongues affirming the Resurrection
At the end, they soberly bong out their names.

The yew tree points up, it has a Gothic shape.
The eyes lift after it and find the moon.
The moon is my mother. She is not sweet like Mary.
Her blue garments unloose small bats and owls.
How I would like to believe in tenderness -
The face of the effigy, gentled by candles,
Bending, on me in particular, its mild eyes.

I have fallen a long way. Clouds are flowering
Blue and mystical over the face of the stars
Inside the church, the saints will all be blue,
Floating on their delicate feet over the cold pews,
Their hands and faces stiff with holiness.
The moon sees nothing of this. She is bald and wild.
And the message of the yew tree is blackness - blackness and silence.

© SP

Thumbnail photos of grave - click for (some) bigness:

Diane Wood Middlebrook, author of 'Her Husband,' died last weekend of cancer.
3 comments|post comment

Sylvia Plath: The Voice of the Poet - and Elaine Connell [10 Dec 2007|07:55pm]

2 things...

I don't know if anyone else ever read the Sylvia Plath Forum. It was probably the best forum I've ever found for ongoing, intelligent (with the odd stupid post) discussion. It was always relatively 'polite' apart perhaps from a recent post from some chick called Morney laying into poor old David Hall...nothing to do with me guv! I disagree with much of it, but it is a goldmine of information. Really, anyone who's 'anyone' in terms of knowing anything about SP posts there - biographers, 'normal' people (ha...such as myself), friends of Sp's, friends of the family - it's the perfect place to ask a question that you can't find the answer to anywhere else. Someone there will always find out in the end. I read it for several months before I contributed to it, being somewhat intimidated at first, I suppose, by the names I saw there, but it's part of my life now. I've met many interesting people - friends of Sp's family, other interesting people, a woman who is writing her PhD on SP and is 'using' me as her main research subject and not least of all, Elaine Connell, who began the Forum way back in 1998 when 'Birthday Letters' was published. We were good email friends for a while. Anyway, the reason I mention it is that I think it should be mentioned here that Elaine died of cancer a few weeks ago. I was asked to read some of Sp's poems and talk about her life at a Plath/Hughes evening earlier this year in Heptonstall and this was mainly because Elaine was very ill. It was a great shock when she died. She created something wonderful in the Forum, and as yet, everyone wants to keep it going, partly in her memory and because it took on such a real life of its own.

There is a very lovely tribute page to her here with the memories and tributes of most of the forum contributors and a link to a blog she kept for the last year of her life... which isn't pleasant reading and probably doesn't mean an awful lot unless you knew her. Her book 'Killing The Angel In The House' about SP is well worth reading, especially for the chapter she has which covers all the other biographies and the various biases.

RIP Elaine

I was gonna upload these in order, but wanted to put these 2 together because 'Point Shirley' is the last one from the first recording session, which was in 1958, from 'Ariel' onwards, the recording is from October 1962 and the change in the way she reads is quite striking, although perhaps more so when the whole tape's being listened to.

* 'Point Shirley'

* 'Ariel'
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SP grave photos taken this weekend by a friend.. [10 Dec 2007|04:33pm]


Heptonstall - the road up to the graveyard....

3 of the graveCollapse )

Also, I have the whole 'Voice of the Poet' Sylvia Plath tape on CD now and will be uploading it bit by bit. It's getting harder and harder to get hold of it, unless you're ready to pay £60 or so for it used on amazon so keep checking back for links! I will upload the whole thing, probably post a couple at a time - likely to use YouSendIt so downdoad them within 90 days, but by then I'll have the entire thing on the computer and I'm more than happy to email it to anyone - just drop me a line at morney@gmail.com - only I'd rather you didn't if you're a member of sylvia_plath and NOT this community since the other oh-so great one has me banned permanently... I realise of course that some of you are in both communities, no offense. (November Graveyard, Black Rook in Rainy Weather, Sow, On The Difficulty of Conjuring Up a Dryad, On the Plethora of Dryads, All the Dead Dears, On the Decline of the Oracles, Perseus: The Triumph of Wit Over Suffering, Battle-Scene, Departure of the Ghost (The Ghosts's Leavetaking), Full Fathom Five, Lorelei, Point Shirley, Ariel, The Applicant, Lady Lazarus, Nick and the Candlestick, Purdah, A Birthday Present, Daddy, Fever 103).

The tape is recorded in two sections, years apart, the first being when she was fairly young and happy, with Ted Hughes sitting beside her and is very different. When the tape moves to 'Ariel,' the change in her voice is striking and quite disturbing. This is many years later, not long before she killed herself. I personally think she reads the 'Ariel' poems much more like they are *her* poems - there is a certain 'sing-song' quality to the previous ones that could almost be her reciting poems by someone else. There is no mistaking the barely controlled machine-gun fury and pain of the readings of the 'Ariel' poems.

Also, if you're not already a member, considering joining my community sextonpoetry. I have new mods on board and I've also just got her whole tape on CD so will be uploading it in its entirety too (interestingly, it is also recorded in two parts years apart with a very different sound to each).
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Interview and Documentary Links [05 Aug 2007|07:10am]

I said I would post these links for theplanklength so here they are:

1. Frieda Hughes interviews - I've posted these links before so I'm just putting a link in to that post: http://community.livejournal.com/ieatmenlikeair/38308.html


2. The online documentary about SP - there's 13 documentaries altogether about different poets, a lot of them are interesting. The SP one is number 9 on the list. You need to scroll down and click on the 'VoD' box next to one of the documentaries - it'll take you to a page where you register (free) then you can go back and watch any of them (you do really need Broadband to watch them properly): http://www.learner.org/resources/series57.html
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