No. 31, Moortown Diary (October 2010)

Please click on link to download the issue (No. 31, Moortown Diary)

Table of Contents

01.     Moortown Farm, Winkleigh, North Devon (c. 1972-76)

02.     Hughes, Preface (1989)

03.     Hughes, Rain (4 Dec 1973)

04.     Hughes, Dehorning (14 May 1974)

05.     Hughes, Poor Birds (10 Dec 1973)

06.     Hughes, Feeding out-wintering cattle at twilight (17 Feb 1974)

07.     Hughes, Foxhunt (27 Dec 1975)

08.     Hughes, New Year exhilaration (3 Jan 1975)

09.     Hughes, Struggle (17 April 1974)

10.     Hughes, Bringing in new couples (16 Feb 1975)

11.     Hughes, Snow smoking as the fields boil (8 Feb 1975)

12.     Hughes, Tractor (31 Jan 1976)

13.     Hughes, Roe-deer (13 Feb 1973)

14.     Hughes, Couples under cover (4 March 1974)

15.     Hughes, Surprise (21 March 1975)

16.     Hughes, Last night (10 March 1975)

17.     Hughes, Ravens (15 April 1974)

18.     Hughes, February 17th (17 Feb 1974)

19.     Hughes, March morning unlike others (15 March 1974)

20.     Hughes, Turning out (3 May 1975)

21.     Hughes, She has come to pass (30 May 1974)

22.     Hughes, Birth of Rainbow (19 March 1974)

23.     Hughes, Orf (3 July 1976)

24.     Hughes, Happy calf (14 May 1975)

25.     Hughes, Coming down through Somerset (8 Aug 1975)

26.     Hughes, Little red twin (1 June 1975)

27.     Hughes, Teaching a dumb calf (15 May 1975)

28.     Hughes, Last load (20 June 1975)

29.     Hughes, While she chews sideways (15 Sep 1973)

30.     Hughes, Sheep, I (20 May 1974) II (4 June 1976)

31.     Hughes, A monument (1978)

32.     Hughes, A memory (1978)

33.     Hughes, The day he died (1978)

34.     Hughes, Now you have to push (1978)

35.     Hughes, The formal auctioneer (1978)

36.     Hughes, Hands (1978)

37.     Note

The central theme of the sequence is Hughes’ reaction to death: the death of the livestock he rears, of the badger killed on a Somerset road, of the lamb he shoots and buries, of the stillborn lamb he decapitates, of the animals he tries and fails to save. But the poems are more than reflections on the cycle of nature, of conception, birth, life and death, the struggle to exist. Hughes reaction has more in common with the primitive to his totem animal, or of the animals themselves, like the cows who continue to lick at their dead calves, perplexed at their dumb, silent stillness. Hughes’ focus throughout is almost sacrificial in its intensity, looking hard and close at the mechanism of death: not at the moment of death itself (for he typically arrives after the fact), but at the heavy inevitability of death in life, and just how close they still are to each other, here and now, in the Devonshire countryside of the early 1970s.

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