Ted Hughes: Hawk In The Rain

Hawk In The Rain cover - Rik Rawling

This is a 2014 drawing, mocked-up as a cover for Ted Hughes’ first poetry collection Hawk In The Rain. A brooding Yorkshireman, obsessed with the dark side of nature…. sounds like someone I know all too well. Here’s the title poem from that collection:

I drown in the drumming ploughland, I drag up
Heel after heel from the swallowing of the earth’s mouth,
From clay that clutches my each step to the ankle
With the habit of the dogged grave, but the hawk

Effortlessly at height hangs his still eye.
His wings hold all creation in a weightless quiet,
Steady as a hallucination in the streaming air.
While banging wind kills these stubborn hedges,

Thumbs my eyes, throws my breath, tackles my heart,
And rain hacks my head to the bone, the hawk hangs
The diamond point of will that polestars
The sea drowner’s endurance: and I,

Bloodily grabbed dazed last-moment-counting
Morsel in the earth’s mouth, strain towards the master-
Fulcrum of violence where the hawk hangs still,
That maybe in his own time meets the weather

Coming from the wrong way, suffers the air, hurled upside down,
Fall from his eye, the ponderous shires crash on him,
The horizon traps him; the round angelic eye
Smashed, mix his heart’s blood with the mire of the land.

Here’s my 2013 drawing of Ted:

Ted Hughes - Rik Rawling C. 2012

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