Brief Break

Blogging friends, there is so much going on here, one way or another, that reluctantly I realise I will have to take a brief blogging break. I should be back at the beginning of the week after next. I’ll try to catch up on my blog reading, too.

I’ve just finished reading the outstandingly good biography of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes by Janet Malcolm, entitled The Silent Woman. So in my absence I leave you with Ted Hughes’ poem that commemorates the iconic moment when Hughes first kissed Plath and in return she bit him on the cheek. You’d think they might both have drawn some conclusions from that.


He loved her and she loved him.
His kisses sucked out her whole past and future or tried to
He had no other appetite
She bit him she gnawed him she sucked
She wanted him complete inside her
Safe and sure forever and ever
Their little cries fluttered into the curtains

Her eyes wanted nothing to get away
Her looks nailed down his hands his wrists his elbows
He gripped her hard so that life
Should not drag her from that moment
He wanted all future to cease
He wanted to topple with his arms round her
Off that moment's brink and into nothing
Or everlasting or whatever there was

Her embrace was an immense press
To print him into her bones
His smiles were the garrets of a fairy palace
Where the real world would never come
Her smiles were spider bites
So he would lie still till she felt hungry
His words were occupying armies
Her laughs were an assassin's attempts
His looks were bullets daggers of revenge
His glances were ghosts in the corner with horrible secrets
His whispers were whips and jackboots
Her kisses were lawyers steadily writing
His caresses were the last hooks of a castaway
Her love-tricks were the grinding of locks
And their deep cries crawled over the floors
Like an animal dragging a great trap
His promises were the surgeon's gag
Her promises took the top off his skull
She would get a brooch made of it
His vows pulled out all her sinews
He showed her how to make a love-knot
Her vows put his eyes in formalin
At the back of her secret drawer
Their screams stuck in the wall

Their heads fell apart into sleep like the two halves
Of a lopped melon, but love is hard to stop

In their entwined sleep they exchanged arms and legs
In their dreams their brains took each other hostage

In the morning they wore each other's face.

p.s. Sorry about the horrid typeface - I'm still wrestling with wordpress....

19 thoughts on “Brief Break

  1. Dear litlove, whatever is taking you from us I hope is pleasurable and voluntary. A friend once shared this Ted Hughes poem with me, knowing somehow I would like it, and I was compelled to write my own version, the only way I know how, in 299 words. I call mine “Love Bites.” It doesn’t, at least not always. Enjoy your break. We will wait impatiently for your return.

  2. Thanks for the poem, and good luck with all you’ve got going on. You’ll be in our thoughts, and I’ll so look forward to your return to the blogging community. Take care.

  3. Very difficult to write a comment about a poem like this. Very difficult to find an adequate adjective to describe my amazement. I hope your break goes well and finds you writing more like it.

  4. Oh the power of simple black marks upon white…an amazing poem. Enjoy your break but I have only recently discovered your blog so please don’t be too long…

  5. Rest and renew, Litlove. Hope all goes well with life in the real world.

    Thanks for the info on this book. It’s one of few about Plath I haven’t read. Off to search for it now…

  6. Stefanie – your comment made me laugh! Thank you – I’ll be back soon. Dear David – such a lovely comment from you. Love may not bite but it might nip a little, right? I remember Love Bites very well indeed and thought it as marvellous as all your writing. Every time I visit your site I see you have ever more loving and admiring supporters, so you’ll not miss me! Emily – bless you and thank you again for our earlier exchange. You are a sweetheart. Cam – so very glad you liked it! I’ll see you soon. Ian – you made my day, no my week, by thinking I could possibly write like Ted Hughes. Thank you. Pete – thank you so much. I’ll tell all the stories on my return. Simon – it’s amazing to think of all that’s been written about them! And thank you for your kind wishes. Gentle Reader – lol! The poem and the relationship are well matched! Thank you, and I’ll be back soon. Courtney – I never like taking them, but in the end they always do me good. I’ll miss you, though. PJ – never fear, I will be back at the beginning of next week. And welcome to the reading room – it’s lovely to have you along! Dorothy – oh now I’m really looking forward to hearing what you have to say about it. I do think you’ll be interested by it. Ravenous – thank you so much for your lovely wishes. And I can thoroughly recommend the book. I’ll review it properly when I’m back.

  7. That’s a pretty passionate poem! I’d like to read more about Sylvia Plath–I’ve only read The Bell Jar and some of her poetry (a long time ago). Have a good break–I hope you get lots done!

  8. Litlove: hope you are having a really enjoyable break. Thanks for passing by on my blog.
    Love the poem by the way and wish I could read so much more than I can cramp in on any one day and in any one week and month and year…..

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