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THE POND GONE BLACK
March 23, 2009 - 8:55am

By

UD

Go wrap
Your head in the snowy rivers
Of the Brooks Range.

And that's what Nicholas Hughes did. His father, Ted Hughes, in his bitter poem, "The Dogs Are Eating Your Mother," advised his children to "leave her," leave Plath to the literary beasts feeding off her myth, and escape into their own lives.

Like Natasha Richardson leaving the burden of Redgrave family renown for relative anonymity in New York, Nicholas Hughes left England for Alaska, where he pursued his fascination with the biology and sport of fishing. Avid for privacy and normalcy, he seems for decades to have found it in Fairbanks, where he was until recently a professor at the University of Alaska.

Yet like his mother he was a depressive who eventually could not hold off the darkness.

Of the sorrows his father wrote about in his poem "The Seven Sorrows," this one seems to mark the moment.

The fourth sorrow
Is the pond gone black
Ruined and sunken the city of water -
The beetle's palace,
The catacombs
Of the dragonfly.

 

 

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