Tuesday, 1 April 2008


Higher Mortals

Why all the intrigue about Ted 'n' Sylvia?
Bet they were a dead boring couple really
Arguing over who used up the last of the milk
And who let the dog in all wet
Saving all their fancy words and intense emotions
For their odes,
And using small ones for each other.
Perhaps they even had it down to the odd grunt or two
Now and then
As they passed the salt and butter.

© LS King

'Ted 'n' Sylvia - The Truth'
Out now in all bad bookshops.

Some of you may recall my earlier poem The Ted Hughes I Never Knew

Blame it on too many poetry seminars where these two's rarity-beyond-compare was continually drummed into me! (though fair do's they were pretty good.)


Rol said...


What would Larkin say?

Old Fogey said...

Very good. They've become something of an industry haven't they - sort of posthumous Posh'n Becks of the literary world - you can hardly see their poetry now through the soap opera of their lives - and her death. Yet they both wrote some good poetry - though not as much as their fans think. Adoring uncritical Jane Austen fans are "Janeites"; what can we call these? Plath'nHughesites?

moi said...

"Posh'n Becks of the literary world." That's good. Did you see the dead boring film with Gwyneth "She Belongs to Y'all Now" Paltrow? Zzzzzzzzz.

But your poem is great. I'd love to read what you'd do with Anne Sexton.

Steve said...

I have to admit I love both Plath and Hughes' work - in fact the essay I've just written for Uni is contrasting Plath's "Daddy" and Hughes' "The Dogs Are Eating Your Mother". All the autobiographical junk certainly adds resonant but the work of both would still stand up and stand out without it.

The Sagittarian said...

Very nice, I like that observation about how ordinary they might well have been. I often think about that sort of thing (I know, I'm a sad wee lass) - you know, doesn't matter how famous y'are, ya still put your pants on one leg at a time!!

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Larkin would say 'It's all lies - I had a very exotic poet's life as a Librarian in Hull' probably Rol.

Old Fogey - I think it's very true that legends often spring up to eclipse famous people as ever having been human at all. I guess Jane-ites & Plath'n'Hughesites are fairly harmless though. Need to get out more probably.

I did indeed see Gwyneth Paltrow as Plath Moi. Think I fell asleep before the end though. Didn't she die or something? I shall swat up on Anne Sexton as you suggest.

Steve, I agree that their work is far more important than the myths which have sprung up about them and easily stands alone, though oddly enough my favourite piece of Plath's work is actually her auto-novel 'The Bell Jar'. Good luck with the essay!

Sagittarian - nothing wrong with being thoughtful! There's not enough of it around and isn't trying to work things out the wellspring of our creativity?