1. Each of the seven Sephiroth which lie below the Supernal Triangle of Sephira 1, 2 and 3, contains a reflection of the whole lower Tree (Sephiroth 1 to 4). So, the number 49 represents all the energies of the lower Tree, and the forty-nine levels of Wisdom which, if correctly learned and used will allow the Initiate to penetrate the Veil of Binah and become One with the Divine Source. Through the powers of 7, therefore, the Initiate may emergence from chaos into order and complete the Cabbalistic journey.

2. ‘Myth and Education’, Children’s Literature in Education, March 1970, 1 :55 -70. ‘Myth and Education’, Writers, Critics, and Children, Heinemann, 1976 - republished in Winter Pollen, Faber, 1994 (pp. 136 -153). These two essays are quite different, although the theme is the same.

3. The use of Atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the electrocution of the Rosenbergs, were events which caused Sylvia great distress and helped to precipitate the suicidal despair which resulted in her own subjection to the “lightning” of electric shock therapy.

4. Ted Hughes, ‘The Loon’, Under The North Star, Faber, 1981.

5. Given the events in Manhattan on 11 Sept. 2001, it is tempting to see the dream which Ted describes in ‘The Badlands’ as prophetic but he, I think, would have seen this act of terrorism as a symptom of our sickness, not as Nature’s attempt to redress a material/spiritual imbalance, however real that may be. ‘The Badlands’, however, does deal with the spoiling of “Planetary America” by excessive worship of the sun, of rationality and of materialism. “The moonland” has gone underground, and the old Indian who is linked with the mighty force of Nature at the end of the poem seems to represent a people who once lived in harmony with the land but who now exist only in memory and vision.

6. Faas, UU 206.

7. Letter from Ted Hughes to “Andrea and Robert”, dated 16 June 1998. Ted sent a copy of this letter to Keith Sagar and this is currently amongst the Hughes / Sagar correspondence held by the British Library. I quote from my own copy of this letter.

8. The exact dimensions of Dee’s table were dictated to his scryer, Edward Kelly, by the angelic spirit, Nalvage. The angels Nalvage and Gabriel also dictated the ‘table’, or matrix, of 49 squares (7 x 7) containing the names of the 49 angelic powers or “voices” which they described as “the natural keys, to open...the Gates of Understanding”. (Fenton (Ed.), The Diaries of John Dee, Day Books, Oxfordshire, 1998. p. 118). And, as Ted tells us in ‘Fairy Tale’ (BL 159) forty-nine was also Sylvia’s “magic number”.

9. ‘German’ and ‘germane’ were once interchangeable words.

10. Graves, New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology, Hamlyn, 1959. p. 226).

11. One of the few poems which Ted wrote in the months after Sylvia’s death was ‘The Howling of Wolves’ (Wodwo 178). In it he writes that the wolf “is living for the earth” and, so, “must feed its fur”. The poem takes its title from one of William Blake’s ‘Proverbs of Hell’: “The roaring of lions, the howling of wolves, the raging of the stormy sea and the destructive sword, are portions of eternity too great for the eye of man”.

12. It is not surprising that Ted should have thought of his situation in terms of a folk-tale. In a letter which he wrote to a friend shortly after Sylvia’s death he talked of the way he had become an actor in the dramas other people invented for him. Some, for example, expected him to die of remorse: others that he should live on as curator of Sylvia’s shrine. Life, he wrote, had become complicated and tricky.

13. The grouping of lines in ‘Life after Death’ reflects all the important Cabbalistic numbers associated with the Path of Nun: 2, which reflects the dichotomies of Life/Death, Inner/Outer, Body/Spirit; 12 and 10 both of which signify the completion of a cycle; 4, which is the number of the elements of chaos from which all things are made; 5, the number of Mankind, the number from which the two paths (outer and inner) open; and 50, the number of the Path of Nun and the number of the Gates of Understanding.

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