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What is the Truth? (Animal Poems #2)

3.33  ·  Rating Details ·  18 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
"We will speak to the people," said God. "We will ask them a few simple questions. Then you shall hear. In their sleep they will say what they truly know."

It is 2am and God and his Son look down from a grassy hilltop on the spire and roofs of a village. Summoned in their sleep, the inhabitants one by one describe truly an animal they know well.

"This is a very beautiful boo
Published November 3rd 1984 by Faber & Faber (first published January 1st 1984)
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A bunch of people speak (in verse) to God and his son about animals. These people (all rural folk) are asleep at the time and so probably don't remember the experience upon waking. None of these folk, however, manage to speak the fundamental Truth about the animals that God wants his son to learn - so he has to explain it himself in the end. Those villagers might not have known, but various others from different cultures around the world seem aware of it!

The poems here, being aimed at children,
Courtney Johnston
Jan 17, 2012 Courtney Johnston rated it really liked it
Shelves: borrowed, poetry
So, until I picked up this book I didn't realise Ted Hughes wrote so much for children. 'What is the Truth?" is one of his late books, published just before he was made Poet Laureate.

Talking about writing for children as well as adults, Hughes said:

So - what is a poem for a young reader? If they can recognise and be excited by some vital piece of experience within a poem, very young children can swallow the most sophisticated verbal technique. They will accept plastic toys, if that's all they're
Mike Jensen
May 02, 2009 Mike Jensen rated it liked it
I have been reading and trying to like Ted Hughes for a couple of years. So far, I have finished all the books I have started, but not kept any of them. The dodgiest are his children's books, and this is an illustrated book of poetry for children. I have no problem with the way he uses descriptions of animals to question our view of god, that's fine, but if there was a point or a new revelation, I missed it. There are some nice poems, some I do not find compelling, and one I found just wonderful ...more
Sep 16, 2009 Ilze rated it it was amazing
There is no doubt that Hughes knows his subject extremely well - as poet, fisherman, farmer and hunter. These poems are truly beautiful and the illustrations (by RJ Lloyd) are magnificent. If anything, it felt as if the tale would never find an end and the reader would be left to discover the truth for himself! So maybe a child would get a bit frustrated reading it. I really enjoyed it.
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Edward James Hughes was an English poet and children's writer, known as Ted Hughes. His most characteristic verse is without sentimentality, emphasizing the cunning and savagery of animal life in harsh, sometimes disjunctive lines.

The dialect of Hughes's native West Riding area of Yorkshire set the tone of his verse. At Pembroke College, Cambridge, he found folklore and anthropology of particular
More about Ted Hughes...

Other Books in the Series

Animal Poems (4 books)
  • The Iron Wolf
  • A March Calf
  • The Thought-Fox

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