Okehampton Carlton -


I drove past your village last night,
wild rain sheeting the screen. I'd gone
to Saving Private Ryan. The light
of the moon was steady, forlorn -

at the beach head there was blood,
and tide washing the bodies. I crossed
bridges, sluices of stream, of flood,
while you lay back, and lost

your struggle. In the boot, Moortown,
signed, a first edition from a jumble sale,
your half-proud name set down
on the illustration. Through the pool -

the beams catching the raggedy splash
gusted up by the tyres - and back:
the local news next night, all passion
and ponies, had you hit the sack

in a London clinic. But London spoke
of death in Devon, where my car
collided with your storm, which broke
wherever on earth you were. Or are.

From the book Robinson Crusoe's Bank Holiday Monday

i.m. Ted Hughes, 29.10.1998