Fate Playing

August 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

by Ted Hughes

Because the message somehow met a goblin,

Because precedents tripped your expectations,

Because your London was still a kaleidoscope

Of names and places any jolt could scramble,

You waited mistaken. The bus from the North

Came in and emptied and I was not on it.

No matter how much you insisted

And begged the driver, probably with tears,

To produce me or to remember seeing me

Just miss getting on. I wasn’t on it.

Eight in the evening and I was lost and at large

Somewhere in England. You restrained

Your confident inspiration

And did not dash out into the traffic

Milling around Victoria, utterly certain

Of bumping into me where I would have to be walking.

I was not walking anywhere. I was sitting

Unperturbed, in my seat on the train

Rocking towards King’s Cross. Somebody,

Calmer than you, had a suggestion. So,

When I got off the train, expecting to find you

Somewhere down at the root of the platform,

I saw that surge and agitation, a figure

Breasting the flow of released passengers,

Then your molten face, your molten eyes,

And your exclamations, your flinging arms

Your scattering tears

As if I had come back from the dead

Against every possibility, against

Every negative but your own prayer

To your own God. There I knew what it was

To be a miracle. And behind you

Your jolly taxi-driver, laughing, like a small god,

To see an American girl being so American,

And to see your frenzied chariot ride –

Sobbing and goading him, and pleading him

To make happen what you needed to happen –

Succeed so completely, thanks to him.

Well, it was a wonder

That my train wasn’t earlier, even much earlier,

That it pulled up, late, the very moment

You irrupted onto the platform. It was

Natural and miraculous and an omen

Confirming everything

You wanted confirmed. So your huge despair,

Your cross London panic dash

And now your triumph, splashed over me,

Like love forty-nine times magnified,

Like the first thunder cloudburst engulfing

The drought in August

When the whole cracked earth seems to quake

And every leaf trembles

And everything holds up its arms weeping.


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