Life was written in protest against Ted Hughes’ Examination at the Womb-door

Who owns these pink crinkly feet?               Life.
Who owns this screwed-up face?                  Life
Who owns these noisy lungs?                        Life
Who owns these kicking muscles?                Life
Who owns this unreliable stomach?              Life
Who owns this undeveloped brain?              Life
Who owns this vital fluid?                              Life
Who owns these unfocused eyes?                Life
Who owns this searching tongue?                 Life
Who owns this waking wail?                          Life
Given, relished, cherished for life?               Love
Who owns this miraculous earth?                Life
Who fills this universe?                                 Life
Who brings hope?                                          Life
Who is stronger than resolve?                     Life
Stronger than love?                                       Life
Stronger than life?                                         Nothing
Stronger than death?                                    Nothing

Pass child and be loved.
 is part of Ted Hughes’s collection Crow, which I was obliged to read during a poetry course. Because of its pre-occupation with Death, I loathed most of the collection, and especially this one.  In the spirit of Kenia’s prompt  at,  to look again at a poem which we do not like, and write our own in the same style.  I will re-read the collection, but I can’t promise to like it.


All poetry, prose and pictures posted here, except where otherwise stated, is my own, and may only be used elsewhere with my expressed permission. Please don't be inhibited from correcting my bloopers and making suggestions: Most of what I post here is instant, ill-considered and off-the-cuff, in serious need of editing.
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15 Responses to Life

  1. shanyns says:

    Yours is a snap and a pop in reply to the doom and gloom of Hughes…I don’t like him or Plath. He may be something ‘great’ but not to me, this however is such a wonderful write and a resounding shout in favor of life! Yes!


  2. shawnacy says:

    turned that puppy on it’s ear. i hear it as a resounding parry and thrust.
    well done.


  3. margaretbednar says:

    His poem is a downer and I would not want to live my life like that. Yours, however, gives new meaning to the phrase … Is the glass half empty or half full? Its all in the way we approach life.


  4. peggygoetz says:

    I really do like this poem of yours very much. So very full of life and hope!


  5. lolamouse says:

    Married to Plath, it’s no wonder he wrote like he did! Or that she wrote like she did! Anyway, yours is much more uplifting. Nice response to the prompt!


  6. Shawna says:

    This is a precious exploration of new life. Love the pink crinkly feet and that tiny tongue looking for milk. 🙂


  7. brian miller says:

    ha. i hear you on hughes…i like some of his stuff but this was a great retort to that poem…and the life you give it…stronger than life nothing, for sure…


  8. Beautiful and thought-provoking. I applaud your dedication to life-long learning. I like to believe I have the same enthusiasm as you.


  9. I love Ted Hughes’ work, and I think your parody has done justice to the original, as well as keeping to your own high standard of poetic expression. I enjoyed this very much.


  10. markwindham says:

    Not familiar with Hughes. After reading his, like yours much better.


    • vivinfrance says:

      Ted Hughes was the last but 2 UK poet laureate, married to Sylvia Plath.


      • markwindham says:

        I shall have to look into him, along with so many others. My poetic education is sorely lacking. Along with grammar, spelling, typing…. 🙂 I would so love to have the time and resources to go back to school.


        • vivinfrance says:

          It’s never too late. I gained my online degree at 73. Before that, earning a living gets in the way a bit!


        • Shawna says:

          He’s the man who made Sylvia kill herself. 😉


          • vivinfrance says:

            and the lover for whom he left Plath. That lover also killed her and Hughes’ daughter. This may be the reason I cannot like his poetry—the deaths are always at the back of my mind. Poem Hunter says that Ted Hughes is consistently described as one of the twentieth century’s greatest English poets, but I have difficulty agreeing with that statement!


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