On Tuesday, the poet Ted Hughes was commemorated with a monument in Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey, among the remains of Chaucer and Wordsworth, Dickens and Hardy (I have not visited myself since my brother’s memorial service there in ’88).
In the summer of 1956 Hughes married the poet Sylvia Plath and for their honeymoon they went to Spain and watched a bullfight. As she wrote in a letter to her mother:
I’d imagined that the matador danced around with the dangerous bull, then killed him instantly. Not so… The killing isn’t even neat, and with all the chances against it, we felt disgusted and sickened by such brutality.
I feel I would have had exactly the same response were it not for the fact that the first corrida I saw was headed by El Fandi, four days before his alternativa, in the Maestranza of Seville. Sheer chance.
Plath wrote a poem about her bullfight experience, in which a picador was injured by the bull. Continue reading