The Day He Died
Was the silkiest day of the young year,
The first reconnaissance of the real spring,
The first confidence of the sun.
That was yesterday. Last night, frost.
And as hard as any of all winter.
Mars and Saturn and the Moon
Dangling in a bunch
On the hard, littered sky.
Today is Valentine’s day.
Earth toast-crisp. The snowdrops battered.
Thrushes spluttering. Pigeons gingerly
Rubbing their voices together, in stinging cold.
Crows creaking, and clumsily
The bright fields look dazed.
Their expression is changed.
They have been somewhere awful
And come back without him.
The trustful cattle, with frost on their backs,
Waiting for hay, waiting for warmth,
Stand in a new emptiness.
From now on the land
Will have to manage without him.
But it hesitates, in this slow realization of light,
Childlike, too naked, in a frail sun,
With roots cut
And a great blank in its memory.
©1989 Ted HughesFrom “Moortown Diary” published by Faber and Faber