slug Quotes

But artists didn't need to achieve "firsts", and Hughes wanted to be an artist.

- Diane Wood Middlebrook, Her Husband: Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath - A Marriage

You solve it as you get older, when you reach the point where you've tasted so much that you can somehow sacrifice certain things more easily, and you have a more tolerant view of things like possessiveness (your own) and a broader acceptance of the pains and the losses.

- Ted Hughes, Letters of Ted Hughes

The only calibration that counts is how much heart people invest, how much they ignore their fears of being hurt or caught out or humiliated. And the only thing people regret is that they didn't live boldly enough, that they didn't invest enough heart, didn't love enough. Nothing else really counts at all.

- Ted Hughes, Letters of Ted Hughes

The only thing people regret is that they didn't live boldy enough, that they didn't invest enough heart, didn't love enough. Nothing else really counts at all.

- Ted Hughes

There is no better way to know us Than as two wolves, come separately to a wood.

- Ted Hughes

That’s the paradox: the only time most people feel alive is when they’re suffering, when something overwhelms their ordinary, careful armour, and the naked child is flung out onto the world. That’s why the things that are worst to undergo are best to remember. But when that child gets buried away under their adaptive and protective shells—he becomes one of the walking dead, a monster. So when you realise you’ve gone a few weeks and haven’t felt that awful struggle of your childish self — struggling to lift itself out of its inadequacy and incompetence — you’ll know you’ve gone some weeks without meeting new challenge, and without growing, and that you’ve gone some weeks towards losing touch with yourself. The only calibration that counts is how much heart people invest, how much they ignore their fears of being hurt or caught out or humiliated. And the only thing people regret is that they didn’t live boldly enough, that they didn’t invest enough heart, didn’t love enough. Nothing else really counts at all.

- Ted Hughes, Letters of Ted Hughes

Right from the start he is dressed in his best - his blacks and his whitesLittle Fauntleroy - quiffed and glossy,A Sunday suit, a wedding natty get-up,Standing in dunged strawUnder cobwebby beams, near the mud wall,Half of him legs, Shining-eyed, requiring nothing moreBut that mother's milk come back often.Everything else is in order, just as it is.Let the summer skies hold off, for the moment.This is just as he wants it.A little at a time, of each new thing, is best.Too much and too sudden is too frightening -When I block the light, a bulk from space,To let him in to his mother for a suck,He bolts a yard or two, then freezes,Staring from every hair in all directions,Ready for the worst, shut up in his hopeful religion,A little syllogismWith a wet blue-reddish muzzle, for God's thumb.You see all his hopes bustlingAs he reaches between the worn rails towardsThe topheavy oven of his mother.He trembles to grow, stretching his curl-tip tongue -What did cattle ever find hereTo make this dear little fellowSo eager to prepare himself?He is already in the race, and quivering to win -His new purpled eyeball swivel-jerksIn the elbowing push of his plans.Hungry people are getting hungrier,Butchers developing expertise and markets,But he just wobbles his tail - and glistensWithin his dapper profileUnaware of how his whole lineage Has been tied up.He shivers for feel of the world licking his side.He is like an ember - one glowOf lighting himself upWith the fuel of himself, breathing and brightening.Soon he'll plunge out, to scatter his seething joy,To be present at the grass,To be free on the surface of such a wideness,To find himself. To stand. T

- Ted Hughes

T.S. Eliot said to me 'There’s only one way a poet can develop his actual writing – apart from self-criticism & continual practice. And that is by reading other poetry aloud – and it doesn’t matter whether he understands it or not (i.e. even if it’s in another language.) What matters above all, is educating the ear.' What matters, is to connect your own voice with an infinite range of verbal cadences & sequences – and only endless actual experience of your ear can store all that in your nervous system. The rest can be left to your life & your character.

- Ted Hughes, Letters of Ted Hughes

Everybody tries to protect this vulnerable two three four five six seven eight year old inside, and to acquire skills and aptitudes for dealing with the situations that threaten to overwhelm it... Usually, that child is a wretchedly isolated undeveloped little being. It’s been protected by the efficient armour, it’s never participated in life, it’s never been exposed to living and to managing the person’s affairs, it’s never been given responsibility for taking the brunt. And it’s never properly lived. That’s how it is in almost everybody. And that little creature is sitting there, behind the armour, peering through the slits. And in its own self, it is still unprotected, incapable, inexperienced...And in fact, that child is the only real thing in them. It’s their humanity, their real individuality, the one that can’t understand why it was born and that knows it will have to die, in no matter how crowded a place, quite on its own. That’s the carrier of all the living qualities. It’s the centre of all the possible magic and revelation. What doesn’t come out of that creature isn’t worth having, or it’s worth having only as a tool—for that creature to use and turn to account and make meaningful...And so, wherever life takes it by surprise, and suddenly the artificial self of adaptations proves inadequate, and fails to ward off the invasion of raw experience, that inner self is thrown into the front line—unprepared, with all its childhood terrors round its ears.And yet that’s the moment it wants. That’s where it comes alive—even if only to be overwhelmed and bewildered and hurt. And that’s where it calls up its own resources—not artificial aids, picked up outside, but real inner resources, real biological ability to cope, and to turn to account, and to enjoy.That’s the paradox: the only time most people feel alive is when they’re suffering, when something overwhelms their ordinary, careful armour, and the naked child is flung out onto the world. That’s why the things that are worst to undergo are best to remember.But when that child gets buried away under their adaptive and protective shells—he becomes one of the walking dead, a monster. So when you realise you’ve gone a few weeks and haven’t felt that awful struggle of your childish self—struggling to lift itself out of its inadequacy and incompetence—you’ll know you’ve gone some weeks without meeting new challenge, and without growing, and that you’ve gone some weeks towards losing touch with yourself.

- Ted Hughes, Letters of Ted Hughes

Every single person is vulnerable to unexpected defeat in this inmost emotional self. At every moment, behind the most efficient seeming adult exterior, the whole world of the person's childhood is being carefully held like a glass of water bulging above the brim. And in fact, that child is the only real thing in them. It's their humanity, their real individuality, the one that can't understand why it was born and that knows it will have to die, in no matter how crowded a place, quite on its own. That's the carrier of all the living qualities. It's the centre of all the possible magic and revelation.

- Ted Hughes

You focus on telling stories,
we do everything else.