I’ve really no literary basis for disliking this poem. It was included in our syllabus for A/L literature and I was repelled by the sheer arrogance which exuded from the poem when I first read it. Later on, I did more research and discovered that Hughes was in fact Sylvia Plath’s husband and despite his evident grief at her death, was held indirectly responsible for Plath’s suicide by many people. Whether he was guilty or not, no one will ever know – all we can do at this point, I suppose is just speculate, really.
This never improved my first impression of the poem and I would invariably include my irrational dislike of it, my annoyance at Hughes’ extramarital affair and link my conspiracy theory about Plath’s suicide in every answer I wrote.
Needless to say, my teacher wasn’t very pleased with me.
I sit in the top of the wood, my eyes closed.
Inaction, no falsifying dream
Between my hooked head and hooked feet:
Or in sleep rehearse perfect kills and eat.
The convenience of the high trees!
The air’s buoyancy and the sun’s ray
Are of advantage to me;
And the earth’s face upward for my inspection.
My feet are locked upon the rough bark.
It took the whole of Creation
To produce my foot, my each feather:
Now I hold Creation in my foot
Or fly up, and revolve it all slowly –
I kill where I please because it is all mine.
There is no sophistry in my body:
My manners are tearing off heads –
The allotment of death.
For the one path of my flight is direct
Through the bones of the living.
No arguments assert my right:
The sun is behind me.
Nothing has changed since I began.
My eye has permitted no change.
I am going to keep things like this.
Ps: Here’s a fun fact for you. Assia Wevill was a tenant of Plath and Hughes. At the time of Plath’s suicide she was pregnant with Hughes’ child (she had an abortion soon afterwards). Six years after Plath’s death Assia also gassed herself killing her 4 year old daughter along with her.
These people had such turbulent lives, didn’t they? 😐