“What then?” sang Plato’s ghost. “What then?”

As I mentioned previously there are some new Seamus Heaney poems out there, and rumours of a new Faber&Faber collection too, but in the meantime he’s been talking about his fellow poet, and friend, the former Poet Laureate Ted Hughes – with whom he co-edited The Rattle Bag – and to whom he dedicated Castings and Gatherings. There was a talk at the Darlington Ways with Words festival and the sponsor’s literary editor grabbed some quick words – a [too] short podcast available here. He mentions his obsession with Wordsworth, along with Hughes’ obsession with Yeats..And, to add, one of my personal favourites by Ted Hughes


This house has been far out at sea all night,
The woods crashing through darkness, the booming hills,
Winds stampeding the fields under the window
Floundering black astride and blinding wet

Till day rose; then under an orange sky
The hills had new places, and wind wielded
Blade-light, luminous black and emerald,
Flexing like the lens of a mad eye.

At noon I scaled along the house-side as far as
The coal-house door. Once I looked up –
Through the brunt wind that dented the balls of my eyes
The tent of the hills drummed and strained its guyrope,

The fields quivering, the skyline a grimace,
At any second to bang and vanish with a flap;
The wind flung a magpie away and a black-
Back gull bent like an iron bar slowly. The house

Rang like some fine green goblet in the note
That any second would shatter it. Now deep
In chairs, in front of the great fire, we grip
Our hearts and cannot entertain book, thought,

Or each other. We watch the fire blazing,
And feel the roots of the house move, but sit on,
Seeing the window tremble to come in,
Hearing the stones cry out under the horizons.

  • parcifal

    Beautiful pete

    my mood ce soir is this:

    Starry, starry night.
    Portraits hung in empty halls,
    Frameless head on nameless walls,
    With eyes that watch the world and can’t forget.
    Like the strangers that you’ve met,
    The ragged men in the ragged clothes,
    The silver thorn of bloody rose,
    Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow.

    Now I think I know what you tried to say to me,
    How you suffered for your sanity,
    How you tried to set them free.
    They would not listen, they’re not listening still.
    Perhaps they never will…

  • T.Ruth

    I set my class that Don Maclean song as the poem for discussion for Mock CSE Examination in 1974 and it came up in the actual exam.And Suzanne by Leonard Cohen.My son bought me the DVD recently.
    What about, “Good Fences make good neighbours” by Robert Frost? Could be written about us here on this island.

  • Pete Baker


    That would be Mending Wall by Robert Frost.

  • T.Ruth

    Pete Baker
    Thank you