from The Rag Rug
Somebody had made one. You admired it.
So you began to make your rag rug.
You needed to do it. Played on by lightnings
You needed an earth. Maybe. Or needed
To pull something out of yourself-
Some tapeworm of the psyche. I was simply
Happy to watch your scissors being fearless
Whenever you worked at your carpet I felt happy.
Then I could read Conrad’s novels to you.
I could cradle your freed mind in my voice,
Chapter by chapter, sentence by sentence,
Word by word: “Heart of Darkness,”
I dreamed of our house
Before we ever found it. A great snake
Lifted its head from a well in the middle of the house
Exactly where the well is, beneath its slab,
In the middle of the house.
A golden serpent, thick as a child’s body,
Eased from the opened well. And poured out
Through the back door, a length that seemed unending-
by Ted Hughes,
printed in the New Yorker
published in Birthday Letters
Ted Hughes on Sylvia Plath