Wednesday, 16 January 2013

October Dawn

October is marigold, and yet
A glass half full of wine left out

To the dark heaven all night, by dawn
Has dreamed a premonition

Of ice across its eye as if
The ice-age had begun its heave.

The lawn overtrodden and strewn
From the night before, and the whistling green

Shrubbery are doomed. Ice
Has got its spearhead into place.

First a skin, delicately here
Restraining a ripple from the air;

Soon plate and river on pond and brook;
Then tons of chain and massive lock

To hold rivers. Then, sound by sight
Will Mammoth and Sabre-tooth celebrate

Reunion while a fist of cold
Squeezes the fire at the core of the world,

Squeezes the fire at the core of the heart,
And now it is about to start.


  1. What a brilliant poem by Hughes, which I've never read before. Wonderful imagery. (And quite relevant to these January days!) Thanks for sharing!

    1. Yeah I thought so too! More 'January Dawn' maybe! Poem seems at once slightly pessimistic and yet also a celebration (of spring, coming too, perhaps?) Thanks for viewing! x

    2. Yes, it does seem optimistic too. Especially the last line... Makes me want to read more of Hughes! (which I confess, I haven't read much)!

  2. It's my dissertation subject, and I'm doing a nature poetry module this semester. I've got his Collected Poems, but I've only really looked at Hawk in the Rain... time to get cracking!

  3. I actually see a man waking up on the sofa, seeing the autumn leaves outside, seeing his half empty glass, feeling the atmosphere that leads to an almighty row. Anyone else?

  4. I see it as a destructive end rather than a positive or optimistic one. The violence of the ice and its power over civilisation is what I see as the most significant image. The wine is a symbol of our civilisation and it's been abandoned due to the frost on the air. There is a premonition of an ice age, which may bring man together - we'll huddle together for warmth in our 'reunion' whilst the ice 'squeezes the fire' that is likely the only thing keeping us alive - especially since it has already killed the shrubbery. Also the image of the 'ice Has got its spearhead into place' suggests it is at war with Autumn. The Ice Age is surely going to win - 'And now it's about to start' surely then means that the people will have to get ready to face the Ice Age together but we're all doomed as in Hughes nature is always superior to man. But I guess we'll all die together so there is some optimism in there. I guess.

  5. Wind by Ted Hughes is one of my favourite poems. It's pure genius.

  6. Beautiful analysis of the winter season and images