1. In some Tarot packs one of the horses drawing the Chariot is black, the other white, to symbolize opposing energies in Nature. It is interesting to note that practitioners of the Chinese occult science, feng-shui (literally ‘wind-water’: the art of living in harmony with nature), are sometimes known as k’an-yĆ¼ sien-sheng: ‘masters of the canopied chariot’.

2. The card has close links with the teachings of Krishna when he visited Arjuna on the field of battle in the Sanskrit poem, The Bhagavad Gita. See especially Chapter 3. V. 1-11 (Mascaro. J (Trans.), Penguin, 1982).

3. The Mystical Significance of Hebrew Letters (Cheth)

4. Like Alchemy, the Cabbalistic process is never complete. Always, “At the end of the ritual / up comes a goblin”, as Ted noted on the final page of Cave Birds (CB 62).

5. This term is not one which Sylvia ever seems to have used in her work. It is a jeering, slang term which was once used in Northern England to denote the lowest, dirtiest sailors, generally those working on colliery ships. Ted’s use of it may suggest some jealousy on his part over Sylvia’s earlier men friends but this is unlikely. More likely, is that he used it to emphasize the very ordinary, earthy, mortal nature of these men and the extent of Sylvia’s emotional excesses – both of which are evident in her journals.

6. In Sylvia’s poem ‘Poems. Potatoes’ (SPCP 106), she compares poems with potatoes and concludes that the potato “Bunches its knobby browns on a vastly superior page”.

7. Faas, E. The Unaccommodated Universe, Black Sparrow Press, Santa Barbara, 1980. pp. 205-6, 209-10. p. 212.

8. It is relevant to note that this book brings together work which Ted regarded as comprising “a psycho-poetical autobiography” (this is part of the inscription which Ted wrote in the copy of the book which he gave to me).

9. Myers, himself, is cryptic in his comments about this poem. He does not explain what he thought Ted meant when he “decided not to die”, although he says that, to him “the meaning was clear”. Nor does he explain “the alien force” which Ted describes in the poem or his own comment that Ted “decided to evict it” and “successfully did so” (CSBA 78).

10. This libretto was begun in collaboration with the composer, Chou Wen-Chung, with whom Ted had become friendly whilst he and Sylvia were at Yaddo in 1959.

11. The Wound was broadcast by the BBC Third Programme on 1 Feb. 1962. It is collected in Wodwo, Faber, 1971. pp. 104-46.

12.The Lodger of Ted’s play – saintly, learned, reliant on books and the Law – is an immature “boy”. His double, representing the other extreme of male nature, is Morgan, who is also a potential bridegroom for Elaine. Morgan is cruel, heartless, merciless and loveless. Elaine and The Wife both reveal their Goddess natures through their speeches. For Elaine, “Life has hardly begun” yet she traces her genealogy (like the Virgin Goddess) through the religious persecutions of ages. She is linked with dawn, music, blossoming, the new moon, joy and mercy. She represents one end of the spectrum of Female nature: The Wife represents the other. The Wife is world-weary, her “night lasts forever”, and she traces her history from the serpent which “sang and crawled in a circle” – she is Kali, The Hag with “fangs and a starved length”.

13. Hughes, T. A Dancer to God: Tributes to T.S. Eliot, Faber, 1992. Reprinted in Winter Pollen, pp. 268-92.

14. In his essay on Eliot (WP 274-5), Ted acknowledges the difficulty of accepting such a mythic / occult explanation of physical symptoms in a world which no longer believes in a God-centred universe. He provides an alternative, Freudian, psychological interpretation in which the hidden anima struggles with the ego for release and physical and mental disturbances are the psychosomatic expression of this struggle. At the end of his essay on Coleridge he also notes the value of Erich Neuman’s book The Origin and History of Consciousness (trans. R.F.C. Hull, Princeton / Bollingen, 1954) in any discussion of “the psycho-biological life of individuals” and the “cult of the Female”. (WP 464-5).

15. Almost everything Ted says in this essay on the roots of Leonard Baskin’s work has great relevance to his own work. It was first published as an introduction to The Collected Prints of Leonard Baskin, Little Brown & Co., Boston, 1984. It is republished in Winter Pollen, pp. 84-102.

16. Graves, The White Goddess, p 192.

17. Faas, TheUnaccommodated Universe, p 202.

18. Graves, The White Goddess, pp. 69-70. The “alien joker” may also have remembered that in primitive times only The Goddess’s priestesses were allowed to plant or to cook beans.

19. Ibid. p. 395.

20. This is exactly the way Ted describes the Poetic Self as surfacing in the visionary poetry of Eliot and Coleridge. His long essays in Winter Pollen on both these poets analyse the ways in which each dealt with these nightmare visions and the myths which they invented in their work to deal them. These essays are very relevant to Ted’s own work: “Poets’ myths”, as he says, “always are (among other things) a projected symbolic self-portrait of the poet’s own deepest psychological make-up” (WP 375).

21. Carolyn Wright, Poetry Review, Vol 89. No. 3. Autumn 1999. p.8.

22. Interview with Drue Heinze, ‘Ted Hughes: The Art of Poetry LXXI’, The Paris Review, Vol. 37. No. 134. Spring 1995. p. 77.

23. Letter to Aurelia Plath. Jan. 1975. Special Collections, Robert Woodruff Library, University of Emory, Atlanta. MS 644. SCD Box 18. ff. 10.

24. A copy of proofs for this limited edition is titled Howls Cries & Whispers, with ‘Howls’ hand printed above ‘Cries’ on the title page; ‘Cries’ is crossed through with ‘Howls’ printed above it as the title of the poem on page 7; and Cries and Whispers is on the page of publication information. ‘Superstitions’, the final poem in Howls and Whispers, appears with minor differences as ‘Capriccios’, the first poem in the limited edition, Capriccio, of which only fifty copies were issued by Gehenna Press “in the unsettled spring of 1990”.

25. The Laburnum, like the Goddess’s bean, belongs to the Leguminosae Family It is listed amongst the magical Ogham trees by the Celtic bard, Taliesin, in his poem Cad Goddeau (Battle of the Trees) (Matthews, J. Taliesin: Shamanism and the Bardic Mysteries in Britain and Ireland, Aquarian Press, London, 1991. p. 298), and is called “the bean” by Robert Graves in his discussion of this poem (WG 32).

26. Anne Stevenson, in Bitter Fame describes this episode as occurring between 27 Jan. and 6 Feb. 1961 (BF 205). Ted, in a letter to Stevenson which is quoted by Janet Malcolm in The Silent Woman (PanMacmillan, London, 1994. p. 143), wrote: “The truth is that I didn’t hold that action against [Sylvia] - then or at any other time&hellip… to say that I could not forgive her for ripping up those bits of paper is to misunderstand utterly the stuff of my relationship to her.”.

27. ‘Daddy’ (SPCP 222-4), in particular, reads (and was read by Sylvia on the BBC) like a powerful curse. In ‘Publishing Sylvia Plath’, discussing the first publication of Ariel, Ted said: “I would have cut out ‘Daddy’ if I’d been in time (there are quite a few things more important than giving the world great poems”), but he did not elaborate on his reasons (WP 167).

28. In his letter to Anne Stevenson (ibid.), Ted wrote: “The only thing I found hard to understand was her sudden discovery of our bad moments… as subjects for poems”. But he wrote, too, “She never did anything that I held against her”.

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional