11 Jun 2009

A Short Film -- Ted Hughes

[1930–1998, English]

It was not meant to hurt.
It had been made for happy remembering
By people who were still too young
To have learned about memory.

Now it is a dangerous weapon, a time-bomb.
Which is a kind of body-bomb, long-term, too.
Only film, a few frames of you skipping, a few seconds.
You aged about ten there, skipping and still skipping.

Not very clear grey, made out of mist and smudge.
This thing has a fine fuse, less a fuse
Than a wavelength attuned, an electronic detonator
To what lies in your grave inside us.

And how that explosion would hurt
Is not just an idea of horror but a flash of fine sweat
Over the skin-surface, a bracing of nerves
For something that has already happened.

Source: Hughes, T 1998, Birthday letters, Farrar Straus & Giroux.

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