Excerpts from previously unseen Ted Hughes poem detailing his wife Sylvia Plath’s suicide

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Excerpts from Ted Hughes poem on Sylvia Plath

Excerpts from drafts of an unpublished poem by poet laureate Ted Hughes, which details his feelings about his wife Sylvia Plath’s suicide in February 1963. The poem, called “Last Letter,” is available for viewing in the British Library’s archives in London.

What did happen that Sunday night?

Your last night? Over what I remember of it

Double-exposed to my last sight of you

Burning your farewell letter to me

As if you had not meant it

Yet with that strange smile. As if you had meant

Something different

Had it reached me sooner than you planned?

Had you thought out a plan?

… If it had reached me

Saturday morning as it should have - by then

You would have vanished from me. You would have vanished

From behind those simple loving words

Of your farewell note…

What happened that night, inside your … (unlegible)

Is as unknown as if it never happened.

What accumulation of your whole life,

Like effort unconscious, like birth

Pushing through each slow second into the next

Happened only as if it could not happen

As if it was not happening.

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