The Horses by Ted Hughes - A Friend to Lewi

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Manage episode 290125554 series 1817039
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In this episode, Lewi talks with us about the poem that has been a friend to him – 'The Horses' by Ted Hughes. ​ Lewi joined The Poetry Exchange online, via video call, for one of our Lockdown Exchanges. It was in celebration of Manchester Literature Festival, which you can find out more about here: www.manchesterliteraturefestival.co.uk Lewi is in conversation with Poetry Exchange team members, Fiona Bennett and Michael Shaeffer. Fiona reads 'The Horses' ***** The Horses By Ted Hughes I climbed through woods in the hour-before-dawn dark. Evil air, a frost-making stillness, Not a leaf, not a bird- A world cast in frost. I came out above the wood Where my breath left tortuous statues in the iron light. But the valleys were draining the darkness Till the moorline blackening dregs of the brightening grey Halved the sky ahead. And I saw the horses: Huge in the dense grey ten together Megalith-still. They breathed, making no move, With draped manes and tilted hind-hooves, Making no sound. I passed: not one snorted or jerked its head. Grey silent fragments Of a grey still world. I listened in emptiness on the moor-ridge. The curlews tear turned its edge on the silence. Slowly detail leafed from the darkness. Then the sun Orange, red, red erupted Silently, and splitting to its core tore and flung cloud, Shook the gulf open, showed blue, And the big planets hanging I turned Stumbling in a fever of a dream, down towards The dark woods, from the kindling tops, And came the horses. There, still they stood, But now steaming, and glistening under the flow of light, Their draped stone manes, their tilted hind-hooves Stirring under a thaw while all around them The frost showed its fires. But still they made no sound. Not one snorted or stamped, Their hung heads patient as the horizons, High over valleys, in the red levelling rays In din of the crowded streets, going among the years, the faces, May I still meet my memory in so lonely a place Between the streams and the red clouds, hearing curlews, Hearing the horizons endure. New Selected Poems by Ted Hughes. Faber & Faber; Main edition (6 Mar. 1995)

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