Hughes Poetry

the thought fox
star represents poetic creativity- fox represents the product of hughes’ creativity; visceral physical details; synaesthesia; inverted simile; violence vs tenderness

song
sibilance and repetition of W sounds; lady= hughes’ muse, metaphor for poetic creativity, witholding; her metamorphoses are transferred to him in the form of poems; natural beauty vs decay; linked to cosmic and natural forces; hughes described this poem as ‘natural music’; narrator is dependent

the jaguar
beginning is slow: rhyme scheme adds to the sense of a stagnant, dull image, long words convey the animals’ torpor, repetition of ‘sun’ suggests overpowering heat, auditory imagery is overpowering; beginning in the third verse becomes more fluid: fast pace suggested, list form of ‘stands, stares, mesmerized’, creates a pause, inverted simile, no end stopped lines, the jaguar is described as powerful and free in his subconscious despite being caged

meeting
confrontation of man and nature; lack of end stopped lines creates the impression of a single moment captured by the poem; goats= powerful symbols across many cultures; eye= god’s eye; man tries to simplify nature; cynical tone;

wind
power struggle between man and nature- powerful actions associated with the elements, multi syllabic words are more forceful, weapon-like imagery; response of nature to the elements conveys oppression;

october dawn
still bright but also foreboding; reference to geological processes; weapon like imagery; continuity, cycles in nature conveyed by short verses, emphatic last line and few full stops; interference of man in the natural world

bayonet charge
free verse, disorder, unpredictable form; dystopian images; air /heat are heavy, oppressive; impact of conflict on man and nature; patriotic tear suggests that patriotism has taken away his clarity; third verse- stagnant, existential crisis; futility of war/ insignificance of what is being fought for

six young men
memento mori- men are immortally present because of the potency of the image; celluloid= flimsy; transience contrasted with permanence- union of present and past; inevitability of death;

crow hill
destruction vs creation; men and animals united under a specific cause- shared vulnerability to nature; cycle of affliction; rhyme is subtle and contemplative; apocalyptic imagery

esther’s tomcat
rhyme= gentle, familiar; domestic images contrast with fantastical; cat transcends physical dimensions

hawk roosting
dramatic monologue; solipsistic- naive? strategic / military language; metaphysical conceit- raises itself above god; believes himself to transcend reason

things to remember
discuss rhyme, sounds, punctuation, word length, different types of imagery, verbs

view of a pig
narrator is unable to relate to pig; objectifies and quantifies the pig; plosive sounds emphasise its weight

november
mythical language-old; nature is oppressed- elements are oppressive; sibilance in first verse creates a sense of lethargia; images of dead animals who have submitted to nature’s power

thrushes
mechanical, weapon like imagery; emphasis on what is not; parallels to man kind; relationship to hughes; short verbs imitate quick action; innate actions of thrushes contrasts to deliberation of men

pike
form meets function; no vulnerability; repetition of G and P sounds and sibilance; surprising when hughes mentions how they were domesticated; disturbing images of cannibalism; mystical description of pike contrasts to physical description of tench; hughes fears/ is apprehenseive of the fish- curious about their mythic dimensions; permanence of nature in contrast to man made institutions

thistles
mythic, historical proportions; compares nature to humans; resilience of nature; violent imagery is ironic given their size

full moon and little frieda
relationship between man and nature; crisp sounds; anticipation; awe; unity of man and the cosmos; mixes metaphors and physical descriptions; tactile imagery; alliteration suggests fullness;

a march calf
irony of anthropomorphism- fauntleroy = character who wore tuxedo; contrast between human and animal positions; form reinforces “half”; hughes conveys the cows emotions rather than giving it its own voice; youthful curiosity, engaging with the world;

the river in march
cycles in nature; nursery rhyme tone and form; salmon = beauty created by the river; personified; swing of dominance and suppression; binary refrain; abundance vs depression; 3 line structure imitates the shape of the river

swifts
movement vs stasis; anthropomorphism; bolas = weapon; connection between hughes and the birds- initially feels possession but ultimately they are independent; compares confidence to awkwardness; inevitability of death; swift = his muse? irregular form parallels the chaos of their movement; combines visual and auditory imagery;

the harvest moon
assonance emphasises roundness; moon has metaphysical dimensions; personification of the landscape; call and response of the earth and the cosmos; ritualistoc gathering of all different creatures suggests the spirituality of the moon- all creatures are subject to the power of the cosmos; stillness and silence, soft noises; apocalyptic?

a cranefly in september
broken form of lines and language parallels her struggle; religious dimension (church windows, vestment); imagery is hyperbolic , suggesting heaviness; his relationship to the cranefly is one of sympathy but awareness of the futility of her battle; intricate description suggests her complex form; awkward movement, desperation; indifference of the cosmos and world to her suffering

football at slack
plosive sounds and assonance emphasise the shape and movement of the ball; farcical vs dramatic; group humour; chaotic movement; ball is personified; men are unaware or indifferent to the implications of nature’s power; affection of the cosmos towards man?

when men got to the summit
biblical language represents manmade institutions? struggle to uphold human constructs; television= manmade creation; verbs imply effort; title assumes victory; wolf = man (predator); endstopped first line conveys satisfaction; men remain eogged despit nature’s power over them

a memory
lack of endstopped lines creates a sense of progression and makes it feel as though one moment is being captured; thick sounds convey power and struggle between man and animal; primordial images suggest age old struggle; collier = coal miner; assonance conveys release of struggle; cigarette symbolises = man’s comfort in the situation; force vs care

deaf school
irregular form suggests struggle to understand them; repetition conveys his inability to recognise their multiplicity; attempts to compare them to animals shows how foreign they seem to him; defined by their disability

you hated spain
accusatory; takes her voice away; space before first line creates tension; references to dark foreign/ barbaric images; horn = intrinsic issues in their relationship; mythical imagery; tone is condescending

the tender place
convergence of frightening natural images and scientific/ medical images; ‘somebody’- villain is impersonal therefore can more easily be a symbol; disconnect between emotional and physical pain; wider implications of power; apocalyptic imagery; effect of the treatments and the illness on plath’s poetry = destructive

snow
assonance and lack of end stopped lines conveys downward motions; contrasts trivial images with ancient/ mythical/ biblical/ cosmic images to suggest the way in which plath’s hold on the world is being buried; fire (encompassing) vs ice (enveloping); desperation of snowflakes symbolises plath’s losing battle against depression;