Two Poems

Ted Hughes

Eagle

Big wings dawns dark.
The sun is hunting.
Thunder collects, under granite eyebrows.

The horizons are ravenous.
The dark mountain has an electric eye.
The sun lowers its meat-hook.

His spread fingers measure a heaven, then a heaven.
His ancestors worship only him
And his children’s children cry to him alone.

His trapeze is a continent.
The sun is looking for fuel
With the gaze of a guillotine.

And already the white hare crouches at the sacrifice,
Already the fawn stumbles to offer itself up
And the wolf-cub weeps to be chosen.

The huddle-shawled lightning-faced warrior
Stamps his shaggy-trousered dance
On an altar of blood.

Low Water

       This evening
The river is a beautiful idle woman.

The day’s August burn-out has distilled
A heady sundowner.
She lies back. She is tipsy and bored.

She lolls on her deep couch. And a long thigh
Lifts from the flash of her silks.

Adoring trees, kneeling, ogreish eunuchs
Comb out her spread hair, massage her fingers.

She stretches – and an ecstasy tightens
Over her skin, and deep in her gold body

Thrills spasm and dissolve. She drowses.

Her half-dreams lift out of her, light-minded
Love-pact suicides. Copulation and death.

She stirs her love-potion – ooze of balsam
Thickened with fish-mucous and algae.

You stand under leaves, your feet in shallows.
She eyes you steadily from the beginning of the world.