Ted Hughes se verlore gedig gevind

Ted Hughes

Ted Hughes

In die New Statesman het daar verlede week ‘n berig verskyn oor Ted Hughes se ongepubliseerde “Last letter” aan Sylvia Plath. Luidens dié berig het Hughes vir etlike jare onsuksesvol aan dié vers, wat handel oor die nag van Plath se selfmoord in Februarie 1963, gewerk. Hy kon dit egter nooit genoegsaam afgerond kry nie, vanweë die emosionele hooglading daarvan, en het dit derhalwe ook nie opgeneem in die bundel Birthday letters wat in 1998 verskyn het nie.

Hughes se weduwee, Carol Hughes, het egter dié bykans vergete vers in Britse Biblioteek se argiewe opgespoor en dit aan New Statesmen gegee vir publikasie. Die gedig, wat ook op Channel 4 voorgelees is deur die akteur, Jonathan Pryce, het die volgende reaksie by Carol Ann Duffy, Brittanje se poet laureate, ontlok: “This is the darkest poem he has ever written, almost unbearable to read. It feels a bit like looking into the sun as it’s dying,” het sy gesê. “It’s a poem of deep complicated feelings and in some ways it’s the heart of Birthday Letters. I think its absence from that original collection makes the collection more powerful. It stands, for me, as a poem on its own.It’s a poem that will speak in the way that a Shakespearean tragedy does to people who’ve had the misfortune to touch on those issues. It shows how a suicide can scar the lives of those who still have to live after that death.”

Ek plaas twee gedeeltes uit “Last letter” wat wel op die internet te vinde is, onder aan vanoggend se Nuuswekker. Op Channel 4 se webblad kan jy na die volledige voordrag deur Jonathan Pryce luister.

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Sedert gister het daar twee blogs bygekom, te wete Andries Bezuidenhout se stuk oor ‘die wit dood’ onder myners en Desmond Painter wat skryf oor die gedigte van Mark Doty. In Keelskoonmaak kan Melanie Grobler se bydrae gelees word. 

Vanjaar word die Ingrid Jonker-prys vir ‘n debuutwerk toegeken aan Engelse digbundels wat in 2008 en 2009 verskyn het. Aangesien die beoordeelaars van voorneme is om nog vanjaar die pryswenner aan te kondig, word ‘n ope uitnodiging aan kandidate gerig om hul publikasies vir oorweging voor te lê.

En daarmee eers weer groet.

Mooi bly.

LE 

 

What happened that night, inside your hours
Is as unknown as if it never happened.
What accumulation of your whole life,
Like effort unconscious, like birth
Pushing through the membrane of each slow second
Into the next, happened
Only as if it could not happen
As if it was not happening.

***

And I had started to write when the telephone
Jerked awake, in a jabbering alarm,
Remembering everything. It recovered in my hand.
Then a voice like a selected weapon
Or a measured injection,
Coolly delivered its four words
Deep into my ear: ‘Your wife is dead.’

 

© Ted Hughes

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2 Kommentare op “Ted Hughes se verlore gedig gevind”

  1. Louis :

    Indien hierdie onderwerp jou interesseer, kan jy gerus die opvolgberig wat in The Guardian verskyn het, gaan lees.
    Die skakel is: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/oct/11/ted-hughes-last-letter-sylvia-plath

  2. Johann :

    “Last Letter” by Ted Hughes

    What happened that night? Your final night.
    Double, treble exposure
    Over everything. Late afternoon, Friday,
    My last sight of you alive.
    Burning your letter to me, in the ashtray,
    With that strange smile. Had I bungled your plan?
    Had it surprised me sooner than you purposed?
    Had I rushed it back to you too promptly?
    One hour later—-you would have been gone
    Where I could not have traced you.
    I would have turned from your locked red door
    That nobody would open
    Still holding your letter,
    A thunderbolt that could not earth itself.
    That would have been electric shock treatment
    For me.
    Repeated over and over, all weekend,
    As often as I read it, or thought of it.
    That would have remade my brains, and my life.
    The treatment that you planned needed some time.
    I cannot imagine
    How I would have got through that weekend.
    I cannot imagine. Had you plotted it all?

    Your note reached me too soon—-that same day,
    Friday afternoon, posted in the morning.
    The prevalent devils expedited it.
    That was one more straw of ill-luck
    Drawn against you by the Post-Office
    And added to your load. I moved fast,
    Through the snow-blue, February, London twilight.
    Wept with relief when you opened the door.
    A huddle of riddles in solution. Precocious tears
    That failed to interpret to me, failed to divulge
    Their real import. But what did you say
    Over the smoking shards of that letter
    So carefully annihilated, so calmly,
    That let me release you, and leave you
    To blow its ashes off your plan—-off the ashtray
    Against which you would lean for me to read
    The Doctor’s phone-number.
    My escape
    Had become such a hunted thing
    Sleepless, hopeless, all its dreams exhausted,
    Only wanting to be recaptured, only
    Wanting to drop, out of its vacuum.
    Two days of dangling nothing. Two days gratis.
    Two days in no calendar, but stolen
    From no world,
    Beyond actuality, feeling, or name.

    My love-life grabbed it. My numbed love-life
    With its two mad needles,
    Embroidering their rose, piercing and tugging
    At their tapestry, their bloody tattoo
    Somewhere behind my navel,
    Treading that morass of emblazon,
    Two mad needles, criss-crossing their stitches,
    Selecting among my nerves
    For their colours, refashioning me
    Inside my own skin, each refashioning the other
    With their self-caricatures,

    Their obsessed in and out. Two women
    Each with her needle.

    That night
    My dellarobbia Susan. I moved
    With the circumspection
    Of a flame in a fuse. My whole fury
    Was an abandoned effort to blow up
    The old globe where shadows bent over
    My telltale track of ashes. I raced
    From and from, face backwards, a film reversed,
    Towards what? We went to Rugby St
    Where you and I began.
    Why did we go there? Of all places
    Why did we go there? Perversity
    In the artistry of our fate
    Adjusted its refinements for you, for me
    And for Susan. Solitaire
    Played by the Minotaur of that maze
    Even included Helen, in the ground-floor flat.
    You had noted her—-a girl for a story.
    You never met her. Few ever met her,
    Except across the ears and raving mask
    Of her Alsatian. You had not even glimpsed her.
    You had only recoiled
    When her demented animal crashed its weight
    Against her door, as we slipped through the hallway;
    And heard it choking on infinite German hatred.

    That Sunday night she eased her door open
    Its few permitted inches.
    Susan greeted the black eyes, the unhappy
    Overweight, lovely face, that peeped out
    Across the little chain. The door closed.
    We heard her consoling her jailor
    Inside her cell, its kennel, where, days later,
    She gassed her ferocious kupo, and herself.

    Susan and I spent that night
    In our wedding bed. I had not seen it
    Since we lay there on our wedding day.
    I did not take her back to my own bed.
    It had occurred to me, your weekend over,
    You might appear—-a surprise visitation.
    Did you appear, to tap at my dark window?
    So I stayed with Susan, hiding from you,
    In our own wedding bed—-the same from which
    Within three years she would be taken to die
    In that same hospital where, within twelve hours,
    I would find you dead.
    Monday morning
    I drove her to work, in the City,
    Then parked my van North of Euston Road
    And returned to where my telephone waited.

    What happened that night, inside your hours,
    Is as unknown as if it never happened.
    What accumulation of your whole life,
    Like effort unconscious, like birth
    Pushing through the membrane of each slow second
    Into the next, happened
    Only as if it could not happen,
    As if it was not happening. How often
    Did the phone ring there in my empty room,
    You hearing the ring in your receiver—-
    At both ends the fading memory
    Of a telephone ringing, in a brain
    As if already dead. I count
    How often you walked to the phone-booth
    At the bottom of St George’s terrace.
    You are there whenever I look, just turning
    Out of Fitzroy Road, crossing over
    Between the heaped up banks of dirty sugar.
    In your long black coat,
    With your plait coiled up at the back of your hair
    You walk unable to move, or wake, and are
    Already nobody walking
    Walking by the railings under Primrose Hill
    Towards the phone booth that can never be reached.
    Before midnight. After midnight. Again.
    Again. Again. And, near dawn, again.

    At what position of the hands on my watch-face
    Did your last attempt,
    Already deeply past
    My being able to hear it, shake the pillow
    Of that empty bed? A last time
    Lightly touch at my books, and my papers?
    By the time I got there my phone was asleep.
    The pillow innocent. My room slept,
    Already filled with the snowlit morning light.
    I lit my fire. I had got out my papers.
    And I had started to write when the telephone
    Jerked awake, in a jabbering alarm,
    Remembering everything. It recovered in my hand.
    Then a voice like a selected weapon
    Or a measured injection,
    Coolly delivered its four words
    Deep into my ear: ‘Your wife is dead.’

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