Ted Hughes: The Existential Song

Once upon a time
There was a man
Running for his life.
This was his fate.
It was a hard fate.
But Fate is Fate
He had to keep running
He began to wonder about Fate.
And running for dear life.
Who? Why? And was he nothing
But some dummy hare on a racetrack?

At last he made up his mind
He was nobody’s fool.
It would take guts
But yes he could do it.
Yes yes he could stop.
Agony! Agony!
Was the wrenching
Of himself from his running
Vast! And sudden
This stillness
In the empty middle of the desert.

There he stood -stopped.
And since he couldn’t see anybody
To North or to West or to East or South He raised his fists
Laughing in awful joy
And shook them at the Universe
And his fists fell off
And his arms fell off
He Staggered and his legs fell off

It was too late for him to realise
That this was the dogs tearing him to pieces
That he was, in fact, nothing
But a dummy hare on a racetrack
And life was being lived only by the dogs

Ted Hughes

This has been my favorite poem since 1989.