The Sticking Place



17 December 95
Dear Peter
This card is only interim – till I’ve read The Risen. Wherever I dip – I get caught.
What a story! Apart from the novels a straight account of your marriage with the falcons would be quite a book. I’ve so often wondered what happened to you.
I expect you’ve continued, as with the falcons, on some other plane – obviously.
Anyway, since you left England in 82 all the Peregrine territories have been re-possessed and sparrow-hawks are ten a penny.
Good to hear from you.
As ever


(A Ghostly Falcon)
He stands, filling the doorway
In the shell of earth.
He lifts wings, he leaves the remains of something,
A mess of offal, muddled as an afterbirth.
His each wingbeat—a convict’s release.
What he carried will be plenty.
He slips behind the world’s brow
As music escapes its skull, its clock and its skyline.
Under his sudden shadow, flames cry out among thickets.
When he soars, his shape
Is a cross, eaten by light,
On the Creator’s face.
He shifts world weirdly as sunspots
Emerge as earthquakes.
A burning unconsumed,
A whirling tree—
Where he alights
A skin sloughs from a leafless apocolypse.
On his lens
Each atom engraves with a diamond.
In the wind-fondled crucible of his splendour
The dirt becomes God.
But when will he land
On a man’s wrist.
To Peter Whitehead
Greeting from Ted Hughes
‘Only an owl knows the worth of an owl.’


© The Estate of Ted Hughes
All rights reserved by the original copyright holders