Crow decided to try words

Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow - Ted Hughes

Ted Hughes’ Crow was a mixed bag for me. Some poems went right over my head no matter how many times I would read them. Others read like pretentious claptrap. But then there were a handful that I enjoyed reading, like “Crow Goes Hunting”:



Decided to try words.


He imagined some words for the job, a lovely pack –

Clear-eyed, resounding, well-trained,

With strong teeth.

You could not find a better bred lot.


He pointed out the hare and away went the words


Crow was Crow without fail, but what is a hare?


It converted itself to a concrete bunker.

The words circled protesting, resounding.


Crow turned the words into bombs – they blasted the bunker.

The bits of bunker flew up – a flock of starlings.


Crow turned the words into shotguns, they shot down the starlings.

The falling starlings turned to a cloudburst.


Crow turned the words into a reservoir, collecting the water.

The water turned into an earthquake, swallowing the reservoir.


The earthquake turned into a hare and leaped for the hill

Having eaten Crow’s words.


Crow gazed after the bounding hare

Speechless with admiration.


My other favorites were “Crow’s Playmates,” “Apple Tragedy,” “Fragment of an Ancient Tablet” and “Snake Hymn.”


If you’re a Hughes fan then you’ll probably like this collection well enough but I can’t competently say “yea” or “nay” for anyone else.