Pike by Ted Hughes

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Pike, three inches long, perfect

Pike in all parts, green tigering the gold.

Killers from the egg: the malevolent aged grin.

They dance on the surface among the flies.


Or move, stunned by their own grandeur

Over a bed of emerald, silhouette

Of submarine delicacy and horror.

A hundred feet long in their world.


In ponds, under the heat-struck lil-pads-

Gloom of their stillness:

Logged on last year’s black leaves, watching upwards.

Or hung in an amber cavern of weeds


The jaws’ hooked clamp and fangs

Not to be changed at this date;

A life subdued to its instrument;

The gills kneading quietly, and the pectorals.


 Three we kept behind the glass,

Jungled in weed: three inches, four,

And four and a half: fed fry to them-

Suddenly there were two: Finally one.


 With a sag belly and the grin it was born with.

And indeed they spar nobody.

Two, six pounds each, over two feet long,

High and dry and dead in the willow-herb-


One jammed past its gills down the other’s gullet:

The outside eye stared: as a vice locks-

The same iron in this eye

Though its film shrank in death.


A pond I fished, fifty years across,

Whose lilies and muscular tench

Had outlasted every visible stone

Of the monastery that planted them-


Stilled legendary depth:

It was deep as England. It held

Pike too immense to stir, so immense and old

That past nightfall I dared not cast


But silently cast and fished

With hair frozen on my head

For what might move, for what eye might move.

The still splashes on the dark pond.


Owls hushing the floating woods

Frail on my ear against the dream

Darkness beneath night’s darkness had freed,

That rose slowly towards me, watching.


About Mrs. Nazir's Rhyme and Reason

Am I a bird for Maya Angelou? If yes, why do I and so many of you around me feel caged? why not free? Am I a free spirit, then?If yes, then why don't I locate my limits? Because I can see I have lost the way. The quest for enlightenment is taking me acknowledge just Him ..and this strife just becomes so rewarding and so assuringly peaceful when I see myself having adopted His favourite occupation- the one he designated to his prophets. What has obstructed this self -actualization so far?
This entry was posted in GCE O Level Literature in English, Poetry Anthology for the year 2012-13 and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Pike by Ted Hughes

  1. Jeff Taylor says:

    Where do you get this version, with, “A pond I fished, fifty years across,”? The authorised Faber “Ted Hughes Collected Poems” ed Paul Kegan, has “A pond I fished, fifty yards across,” and so does every Faber title I’ve seen which includes this poem. I have, however, noticed that the Cambridge “Songs of Ourselves” includes the same version as yours. Can you reassure me that it comes from a legitimate source?

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