Monday, 24 August 2009


Those of you who are interested may read the previous post to understand why I have not been posting or visiting for the past three days. But I am back now and, although still a bit shaken, well enough to share this poem by Ted Hughes on a late August plant which is presently ubiquitous in the hedgerows and fields of the Shropshire Marches.


Ted Hughes

Against the rubber tongues of cows and the hoeing hands of men
Thistles spike the summer air
And crackle open under a blue-black pressure.

Every one a revengeful burst
Of resurrection, a grasped fistful
Of splintered weapons and Icelandic frost thrust up

From the underground stain of a decayed Viking.
They are like pale hair and the gutterals of dialect.
Every one manages a plume of blood.

Then they grow like men.
Mown down, it is a feud. Their sons appear
Stiff with weapons, fighting back over he same ground.


  1. So glad you checked out ok. Ya, I agree when in doubt call. I love the poem about the thistles. I say to my friend, weeds don't know they are weeds. They raise their strong faces to the sun and keep on keeping on.

  2. A weed is only anything growing where you don't want it and there are some really beautiful hedge row plants including thistles so lets enjoy them all, I say :-)

  3. Love the poem (agree with Wipso re: weeds) and am most interested in the Icelandic reference. I will have to trundle off and check out this Ted Hughes poem now!

  4. I am so glad that you were allowed to come home as far as any one knows, ok. I truly wish that people have not scared the elderly with horror stories. I definately wish we could have the care you Brit"s have and Canadians. Being in medicare we still pay plenty when you really do not have that much coming in. I do like poems and this is ironic.

  5. You are a poetess beyond compare. Your ode to the common thistle puts a new perspective on them.

    Your medical emergency must have been quite severe to be kept overnight. Here they only keep you overnight unless you are critical. Another reason your health care surpasses ours.

    As for transportation home, when I broke my ribs I was (as always) alone and didn't think to take my purse. After I was x-rayed and released I was without cash and in my nightgown. I had to wake up a neighbor to come get me.

  6. You were missed. Thanks for thistle poem.

  7. Glad you are well and that your health care worked most efficiently. I can only hope mine would do the same. I actually like thistles if they weren't so invasive.

  8. friko - i missed yesterday's posting. i'm so glad that you're well and that you received the good care you deserve!!! the thistle poem - about a plant that is hard to slow down - is a suitable posting for someone who obviously is tough!!!!! take care. steven

  9. Great poem. Didn't know that one. Coincidentally, have been steeping myself in Plath over the last few days, ready to teach her poems at A level when I get back to school next week. Watched the film 'Sylvia' about her and Ted, but it wasn't very good, to be honest. Focused more on him, so I don't know why it was called 'Sylvia'. And apparently her 'estate' wouldn't let much of her poetry be used in the film. Pff.

  10. Hi Friko
    Haven't accessed my computer fot a few days so was sad to read your previous post. Hope you are improving speedily!
    I think the NHS gets an undeservedly bad press. We have always found medical and nursing staff to be dedicated beyond the call of duty. There is just insufficient money for much needed resources.
    I liked the poem ~ hadn't seen it before ~ am going through a William Blake phase at the moment!
    Best Wishes

  11. Always loved to see them with blossom flowers. Can you believe it, that's years ago since last time...
    Wasn't it also the symbol of Scotland?

  12. Friko, I am so glad that you are back home and are feeling better today. Also glad that all tests were negative! And I am so happy you have excellent care available to you!! Hope you continue to heal! Hugs, Silke

  13. Wonderful Hughes poem. Now I'm going to read back to see what in the heck happened to you and why I'm already so glad that you are ok!

  14. Hi Friko - I haven't been online for days - so sorry to hear you have been unwell. Hope you are feeling better now.

  15. Best wishes Friko for a speedy recovery

    take it easy...

    Happy days

  16. Sorry friends, no individual replies for once, I am far behind with visiting and blogging; I shall come by to all of you by and by.

    Thanks for all the good wishes.

  17. I'm so sorry to read that you were ill, but glad to hear that you're home and recovering. The medical community rallied for you and that's a good thing!
    This poem is beautiful. We have thistles aplenty here, and I haul them out of the ground as fast as they pop up - and then I take them to the goats. They must have rubbery tongues too, as they gobble the thistles as fast as I can offer them.
    Take care of yourself!

  18. I'm so glad it wasn't serious.


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