Though November has just transformed itself into December here, still Ted Hughes’ sodden, rain-soaked poem from Lupercal (1960) comes to mind as I watch the TV footage of floods in the North-West of England. I’ve never thought enough attention has been given to the role of the narrator in this poem. It’s one of the selected poems studied on the Cambridge International Examinations’ A-level. Students are asked to discuss one specific poem in detail or two poems from a more thematic perspective. What follows is a loose version of the first type of question (apologies for some loss of formatting in the poem itself). NB. For another close discussion of an early Ted Hughes poem – ‘Meeting’ – click here.
The month of the drowned dog. After long rain the land
Was sodden as the bed of an ancient lake,
Treed with iron and bird less. In the sunk lane
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