‘Lady in Yellow’ By Wendi Bradshaw

by Jul 9, 2021Past Writers in Residence

‘Lady in Yellow’
by Wendi Bradshaw
For Liz Hicklin, Poet and Writer

They met within the cool bright dawn of youth, souls aligned, attracted. The rich history of literary words and history, literally, lyrically drew lover to muse. Even then portentous symbols divined like rods to lead the ways their dividing fates would take. His horizon star burned low, slowly climbing the zenith set by the calm astrolabe, determined to way-find, triangulate turbulent waters to come.

Liz Hicklin with Ted Hughes

Following her liaison with Ted they briefly kept in touch. Far around the round bellied globe of their celestial world – that, the last time they met. Down the spiral of the years, decades, first furtively then wistfully she looked for the evidence: was it real, or a dream? What effect does one soul have on another, how is liminal proof ever substantiated, when silence is invisible and proof requires the type of text that scripts the scribe’s absent lines?

Later, in the words of others of his life, she isn’t there. Yet she recalled it. Was sure of it. From the distant future she stares back across the gulf of then, remembering when. Quiet, early slumber dim mornings of Cambridge mist. Of him. Late night cigar hazed rooms of shared thoughts, dreams that filter into early morning ramblings of sought, unknown wisdom; wine; words of worth. Searching, divining a world of real, not seeing; not knowing it’s already here.

Their yellowed pages, love letters are now library kept, entrusted for the eminence he became, for the public dream-tossed and yearning. Yet the yellow isn’t a colour of fade. It was the dress he loved. Golden on her. The glamour of beauty, youth, around a love and a time that is dimmed but only to the shade of the light. She sees them, then, now, in her dreams. Young, fresh and bright. Vibrant. Their yellow-gold dawn eluded fame. Yet even in the dark of now, the colour remains.

Ted replies. His response contrived from complete lines rearranged from a selection of his poems*

The page is printed
Through the window I see no star
The sun is behind me
The allotment of death
Through the bones of the living
Are of advantage to me

Frail on my ear against the dream
That rose slowly towards me, watching
As good gold as any queen’s crown
And carried you back to collage
On her lectern

Now is the globe shrunk tight
Over a bed of emerald, silhouette
It was as deep as England. It held
Into the blindness and dumbness and deafness of the gulf
Brutal as the star of this month

And turned you into an hourglass of moonlight

(*From: The thought fox (1957); Hawk Roosting (1960); Pike (1960); Snowdrop (1960) ; King of Carrion (1970); Night-ride on Ariel (1962); The Martyrdom of Bishop Ferra (1957); all by Ted Hughes (b.1930-1998).

 

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