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Thursday, October 29, 1998 Published at 12:04 GMT


Entertainment

Extracts from Hughes' Birthday Letters

Ted Hughes: Turbulent marriage to Sylvia Plath

The late Ted Hughes' last published poems Birthday Letters received critical acclaim.


[ image: Birthday Letters: Rave reviews]
Birthday Letters: Rave reviews
The collection chronicled his stormy marriage to the American poet Sylvia Plath, who committed suicide in 1963 aged 30.

The Poet Laureate died on Wednesday aged 68 after an 18-month battle with cancer.

Extracts from Birthday Letters

St. Botolph's is about their first meeting, Cambridge University in 1956.

First sight. First snapshot isolated
Unalterable, stilled in the camera's glare.
Taller
Than you ever were again.
Swaying so slender
It seemed your long, perfect, American legs
Simply went on up.
That flaring hand,
Those long, balletic, monkey-elegant fingers.
And the face - a tight ball of joy.
I see you there, clearer, more real Than in any of the years in its shadow - As if I saw you that once, then never again.

18 Rugby Street recalls the time Sylvia Plath visited Ted Hughes in London in April 1956.

We walked across south London to Fetter Lane
And your hotel.
Opposite the entrance
On a bombsite becoming a building site
We clutched each other giddily
For safety and went in a barrel together
Over some Niagara. Falling
In the roar of soul your scar told me -
Like its secret name, or its password -
How you had tried to kill yourself. And I heard
Without ceasing for a moment to kiss you
As if a sober star had whispered it
Above the revolving, rumbling city: stay clear.




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29 Oct 98 | Entertainment
Poet Ted Hughes dies