Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Last Updated September 5, 2023.

He jumped into the rocket and its trajectory

Drilled clean through her heart he kept on


And it was cosy in the rocket, he could not see much

But he peered out through the portholes at Creation


And saw the stars millions of miles away

And saw the future and the universe

This is from the poem "Crow and Mama." In Hughes's poetry, as Neil Roberts notes in the introduction to the work, the crow becomes the figure of creation. He takes over this role from God. In this poem, Hughes, as Robert notes about other poems, uses decidedly ugly, colloquial language, such as "he jumped into the rocket." Hughes's attempt is to subvert traditional theology, and his use of more colloquial language supports this attempt. In this poem, Crow attempts to break away from his mother by jumping onto a rocket. At the end of the poem, he emerges on the moon and crawls out of his mother's buttocks. He has not been able to escape being born from his mother, so the primacy of women in the creation story is upheld.

He stuffed into man the tail half

With the wounded end hanging out.

He stuffed the head half headfirst into woman

And it crept in deeper and up

To peer out through her eyes

This is from the poem "A Childish Prank." As Roberts notes again, the crow is a trickster figure in this cycle of poems. He is an ambivalent figure who is capable of being both creator and destroyer. In many of Hughes's poems, the crow is the figure present at creation and in many of the Biblical stories about creation. In this way, Hughes upends the traditional religious Biblical account of creation. In this poem, the crow tries to revivify man and woman, whom God has left without souls in Eden, by biting a worm in half. The crow tries to re-create man and woman by stuffing their heads into their bodies, subverting their sexuality. As Roberts writes, Hughes's language is not beautiful, and his use of this type of language is meant to identify the poet with the crow, the trickster figure.

Man could not be man nor God God.


The agony








Crying: "This is my Creation,"


Flying the black flag of himself.

This is from the poem "Crow Blacker than ever." As Roberts explains, Crow is a trickster figure, a traditional figure in many types of myths and folktales. Crow takes over the role of creation from God, subverting traditional stories about creation. Instead of God finishing creation, in this poem, Crow finishes the act of creation. Man and God are in agony because man realizes he cannot be God and has fallen in the Garden of Eden. Man is not sure he can even be himself. At this point, Crow takes over creation and smiles at God's failure. He is critical of God, and he is happy to become the creator himself. He is not a figure of good; instead, he flies a black flag and delights in his power to create but also to sow misery and assert his own power. The universe that Hughes creates is not one of benevolence and progress but of evil and chaos under Crow's reign.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access