The Bat Poet Page » Joseph Thomas writes : Here’s a bit from Ted Hughes’s Birthday Letters. It is from a lengthier poem.

Joseph Thomas writes : Here’s a bit from Ted Hughes’s Birthday Letters. It is from a lengthier poem.

Posted by admin on October 5th, 2007 filed in Uncategorized

It happens on the Common in Boston:

A bat fallen out of its tree
Mid-Afternoon. A sick bat? I stooped
Thinking I'd lift it again to tree-bark safety.
It reared up on its elbows and snarled at me,
A raving hyena, the size of a sparrow,
Its whole face peeled in a snarl, fangs tiny.
I tried to snatch it up by the shoulders
But is spun, like a fighter, behind its snarl.
...

                     ...Finally
I had to give it my finger.
Let the bite lock. Then, cradling it,
Gently lift it and offered it up
To the wall of chestnut bark.
...
At home I looked at the blood, and remembered:
American bats have rabies. How could Fate
Stage a scenario so symbolic
Without having secreted the tragedy ending
And the ironic death? It confirmed
The myth we had sleepwalked into: death.
This was the bat-light we were living in: death.

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