Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Fallgrief's Girlfriends

Not that she had no equal, not that she was
His before flesh was his or the world was;
Not that she had the especial excellence
To make her cat-indolence and shrew-mouth
Index to its humanity. Her looks
Were what a good friend would not comment on.
If he made flattery too particular,
Admiring her cookery or lipstick,
Her eyes reflected painfully. Yet not that
He pitied her: he did not pity her.
“Any woman born”, he said, “having
What any woman born cannot but have,
Has as much of the world as is worth more
Than wit or lucky looks can make worth more;
And I, having what I have as a man
Got without choice, and what I have chosen,
City and neighbour and work, am poor enough
To be more than bettered by a worst woman.
Whilst I am this muck of a man in this
Muck of existence, I shall not seek more
Than a muck of a woman: wit and lucky looks
Were a ring disablign this pig-snout,
And a tin clasp on this diamond.”
By this he meant to break out of the dream
Where’s admiration’s giddy mannequin
Leads every sense to motley; he meant to stand naked
Awake in the pitch dark where the animal runs,
Where the insects couple as they murder each other,
Where the fish outwait the water.
The chance changed him:
He has found a woman with such wit and looks
He can brag of her in every company.


  1. Does anyone know why Hughes chose the name Fallgrief?

    1. fallgrief may be chosen to recognize a symbol

    2. Sounds like an old Yorkshire name. Hughes was Yorkshireman.