Life and Song of Crow

In: English and Literature

Submitted By lovelmarwah
Words 2287
Pages 10
‘From the Life and Songs of the Crow’ by Ted Hughes
God tries to teach Crow to say LOVE: ‘Crow gaped, and the white shark crashed into the sea’. (Crow’s First Lesson)

Background – where did the idea for ‘Crow’ come from?
In 1957 Ted Hughes met the American sculptor, engraver and publisher Leonard Baskin. Baskin was obsessed by corpses, and a variety of other things attended this obsession, including crows which he engraved with disturbingly anthropoid (human-like) characteristics. An invitation from
Baskin to Hughes to write a few little poems to accompany his engravings was the cause of the first Crow poems. Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow was first published by Faber in
1972.
The poems included in Crow are part of a large number of poems which make up a ‘vast folk epic’ which tells the story of Crow. Hughes’s account of the creation of the figure of Crow is thus: God, having created the world, has a recurring nightmare. A huge hand/ voice comes from deep space, takes him by the throat, half-throttles him, drags him through space, ploughs the earth with him then throws him back into heaven in a cold sweat. Meanwhile man sits at the gates of heaven waiting for God to grant him audience. He has come to ask God to take life back. God is furious and sends him packing. The nightmare seems to be independent of the creation, and God cannot understand it. The nightmare is full of mockery of the creation, especially of man. God challenges the nightmare to do better. This is just what the nightmare has been waiting for. It plunges down to ferment and gestate in matter and a little embryo begins. This is how Crow was created. God tests Crow by putting him through a series of trials and ordeals which sometimes result in Crow being dismembered, transformed or obliterated, but Crow survives them all, little changed. Meanwhile Crow interferes in…...

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