Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Ted Hughes - Gnat-Psalm

When the gnats dance at evening, Scribbling on the air, sparring sparely, Scrambling their crazy lexicon, Shuffling their dumb cabala, Under leaf shadow. Leaves only leaves, Between them and the broad swipes of the sun. Leaves muffling the dusty stabs of the late sun From their frail eyes and crepuscular temperaments

Dancing, Dancing

Writing on their, rubbing out everything they write, Jerking their letters into knots, into tangles, Everybody else’s yoyo. Immense magnets fighting around a centre. Not writing and not fighting but singing, that the cycles of this Universe are no matter that they are not afraid of the sun, that the one sun is too near it blasts their song, which is of all the suns That they are their own sun Their own brimming over At large in the nothing Their wings blurring the blaze


That they are the nails In the dancing hands and feet of the gnat-god that they her the wind suffering Through the grass And the evening tree suffering The wind bowing with long cat-gut cries And the long roads of dust, Dancing in the wind, The wind’s dance, the death-dance, entering the mountain. And the cow dung villages huddling to dust, But not the gnats, their agility Has outleaped that threshold And hangs them a little above the claws of the grass,



In the glove shadows of the sycamore A dance never to be altered A dance giving their bodies to be burned And their mummy faces will never be used Their little bearded faces Weaving and bobbing on the nothing Shaken in the air, shaken, shaken And their feet dangling like the feet of victims O little Hasids Ridden to death by your own bodies Riding your bodies to death. You are the angels of the only heaven!

And God is an Almighty Gnat!

You are the greatest of all the galaxies! My hands fly in the air, they are follies. My tongue hangs up in the leaves. My thoughts have crept into crannies, Your dancing, Your dancing Rolls my staring skull slowly away into outer space.”

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