Sunstruck Foxglove

As you bend to touch
The gypsy girl
Who waits for you in the hedge
Her loose dress falls open.

Midsummer ditch-sickness!

Flushed, freckled with earth-fever,
Swollen lips parted, her eyes closing,
A lolling armful, and so young! Hot
Among the insane spiders.
You glimpse the reptile under-speckle
Of her sunburned breasts
And your head swims. You close your eyes.

Can the foxes talk? Your head throbs.
Remember the bird’s tolling echo,
The dripping fern-roots, and the butterfly touches
That woke you.

Remember your mother’s
Long, dark dugs.

Her silky body a soft oven
For loaves of pollen.

– Ted Hughes (1930-98), Sunstruck Foxglove


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