February 26, 2017

Homework Help: Poetry meaning question..

Posted by Sarah on Wednesday, October 18, 2006 at 2:28pm.

Hiya, I need some help for a poetry essay I have to write. Can you tell me what the line "darkness beneath nights darkness had freed, that rose slowly towards me, watching" might mean?

I have no idea. What is the context of this? What is the title of the poem? The name of the author?


The poem is "Pike" by Ted Hughes. Thanks :)

Do you understand the quotation now? I sure don't lol.
(darkness beneath nights darkness had freed, that rose slowly towards me, watching)
Be sure to read the comment at the bottom.

This poem is clearly about a type of fish -- a pike -- that is known for its aggressiveness and predatory nature.

Hmmm, and the narrator is fishing for pike in this pond/lake/whatever? The hunter being hunted!

In those particular lines you posted, keep in mind that "darkness" can be referring to the (dark) depths of the water, to nighttime, to death. The term "darkness" can mean any of those, or even more than one at any one time.

So what do you think? Darkness referring to the deaths already described earlier in the poem and alluding to the pike's ability to bring about more death? Is the narrator showing a bit of fear, even? What was rising? What was watching? The fish for sure, but is it also referring to death?

Let me know what you think.


Thanks alot, that really helps. I'll post my essay on here once I've finished, maybe you could tell me what you think? :)

Sure -- good idea.


This is the poem, I thought I'd post this in case someone else wanted to comment on it. The line you quoted is the very last one, but I'm not sure what it refers to.

"Pike" by Ted Hughes (1930-1998)

Pike, three inches long, perfect
Pike in all parts, green tigering the gold.
Killers from the egg: the malevolent aged grin.
They dance on the surface among the flies.

Or move, stunned by their own grandeur,
Over a bed of emerald, silhouette
Of submarine delicacy and horror.
A hundred feet long in their world.

In ponds, under the heat-struck lily pads -
Gloom of their stillness:
Logged on last year’s black leaves, watching upwards.
Or hung in an amber cavern of weeds

The jaws’ hooked clamp and fangs
Not to be changed at this date;
A life subdued to its instrument;
The gills kneading quietly, and the pectorals.

Three we kept behind glass,
Jungled in weed: three inches, four,
And four and a half: fed fry to them
Suddenly there were two. Finally one

With a sag belly and the grin it was born with.
And indeed they spare nobody.
Two, six pounds each, over two feet long
High and dry and dead in the willow-herb –

One jammed past its gills down the other’s gullet:
The outside eye stared: as a vice locks
The same iron in this eye
Though its film shrank in death.

A pond I fished, fifty yards across,
Whose lilies and muscular tench
Had outlasted every visible stone
Of the monastery that planted them -

Stilled legendary depth:
It was as deep as England. It held
Pike too immense to stir, so immense and old
That past nightfall I dared not cast

But silently cast and fished
With the hair frozen on my head
For what might move for what eye might move.
The still splashes on the dark pond,

Owls hushing the floating woods
Frail on my ear against the dream
Darkness beneath night’s darkness had freed,
That rose slowly towards me, watching.

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