Wednesday, May 04, 2005


Crow's First Lesson

God tried to teach Crow how to talk.
'Love,' said God. 'Say, Love.'
Crow gaped, and the white shark crashed into the sea
And went rolling downwards, discovering its own depth.

'No, no,' said God. 'Say Love. Now try it. LOVE.
'Crow gaped, and a bluefly, a tsetse, a mosquito
Zoomed out and down
To their sundry flesh-pots.

'A final try,' said God. 'Now, LOVE.'
Crow convulsed, gaped, retched and
Man's bodiless prodigious head
Bulbed out onto the earth, with swivelling eyes,
Jabbering protest--

And Crow retched again, before God could stop him.
And woman's vulva dropped over man's neck and tightened.
The two struggled together on the grass.
God struggled to part them, cursed, wept--

Crow flew guiltily off.

--Ted Hughes, from Crow

How frickin good is that? Look at those wonderful verbs for how Crow speaks: "gaped," "convulsed," "retched". What could be better for the sound he makes than "retched"? Hughes, like Merwin, summons a mythical tone and, with a disarmingly light touch, ropes in the largest and broadest of possible symbols, and his politics don't play into it. It's just good old fashioned myth-making. I'm excited.


Anonymous said...

I'm with you on the "retched." Not sure I understood the rest any more than I would an ink blot test.
Debbie, Anna, Jake and I are very excited to hear your wonderful news. Glad to see that you have arrived home safely, and looking forward to meeting your intended.

Anonymous said...

I am thy intended, yet thy betrothed. Who am I?
With my left hand clothed
in bright carbon,
I am not Cate Marvin.
(What's different about me?)

Craig Morgan Teicher said...

Dear Intended,

you frickin' love this blog and you know it. And I love you.