1.In a letter to me (19 Jan. 2001), Lucas Myers wrote that his birth sign is Gemini, so, “Ted delighted in emphasising my double and mercurial character”. He describes that particular night’s events in his own memoir of Ted and Sylvia: Crow Steered Bergs Appeared.

2. Sylvia writes, specifically, of the need to “plot and manage and manipulate my path” (SPJ 10 March 1956).

3. That Sylvia’s journal entries were as much a literary creation as any of her other prose or poetry, is clear from the way she describes her writing (in this same journal entry for 10 March 1956) as “the small ordered word patterns I make”. And it is a shock to read her entries for 6 March 1956, where she expresses devouring love and passion for Richard Sassoon in a letter which she seems to have copied into her journal, then, only three days later, to read an outline for her novel in which she includes “letters to Sassoon, etc.”. Nevertheless, Ted’s indication in ‘Visit’ of the powerful emotions which Sylvia’s journal entries roused in him, even ten years after her death, is very appropriate to this Path of The Empress, where the number four represents creation through the power of the word – the logos.

4. In Alchemy, too, Mercury combines these same corrosive and creative energies which continually break down the prima materia, purify it, and provide energy for its renewal.

5. ‘Wuthering’ is a Yorkshire dialect word for bluster and commotion. It can be used to describe the weather or, disparagingly, people, as in: “He’s wuthering on about his great deeds”.

6. Remains of Elmet (1979) is a very different book to Elmet (1994), although many of the poems in the two books are the same. In my own book, Ted Hughes: The Poetic Quest, I discuss the alchemical structure and purpose of Remains of Elmet. In 1994, shortly after Elmet was published, Ted Hughes asked me what I though of this later book. I replied that it felt to me as if he’d had quite a different purpose in Elmet; that he was doing something quite different to what he was doing in Remains of Elmet – trying to come to terms with something rather than change it; and that the carefully placed cross in Fay Godwin’s final photograph made me feel that the book had completed something for him. His response was a heartfelt “Yes!”; nothing more.

7. Keith Sagar reads this poem rather differently. In a letter to me (17 Feb. 2001) he wrote: “I read the poem (see The Laughter of Foxes, Liverpool, 2000, p. 54) as a failed test on Sylvia. Walter is obviously a false guide (his only qualification being that ‘his mother’s cousin inherited some Bronte soup dishes’. That desecration of the Brontes seems to communicate itself to Sylvia, making her impervious to the dark spirit of the place, or making her protect herself from it with ‘frisky glances and huge hope’ as she appropriates the place with her ‘globe-circling aspirations’. Her words, unlike Emily’s, are ‘brilliantly faceted’ jewels, displaying themselves, as she displays herself to the camera. The ghost’s envy of her is ‘quenched’ presumably because the ghost understands what it is all doomed to come to”.

8. Stevenson, A. Bitter Fame, Viking, 1989. p. 213.

9. The guide book (Houvet, E. Chartres Cathedral, Houvet-La Crypt, Chartres, 1996) includes a photograph of ‘The Virgin of the Crypt’ – the oldest icon: the original was replaced after being burned in front of the church during the French Revolution when the church became a Temple to the Goddess Reason. A later icon (shown in my photograph here), is that of a Black Virgin and Child. Known as “Our Lady of the Pillar”, it provides a tantalising link with the Cabbalistic goddess on her Pillar of Mercy.

10. John James gives details of the measurements of the labyrinth and its sacred numbers (1, 2, and 3, which add up to 6, which is a Perfect Number). He also notes that labyrinths (know as ‘Daedali’ or “The Way to Jerusalem”) can be found in other churches of that period, although without a metal plaque like the one at Chartres. (James, The Contractors of Chartres, Vol II, Mandalora Press, Wyong, NSW, 1981. pp. 470-3; The Travellers Guide to Medieval France, Harrap Columbus, London, 1987. pp. 74-5).

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional