The poet Ted Hughes has a passion for pike. In ‘Pike, Hughes presents pike wi th imagery and detailed descriptions. Through his words we see the beauty and malevolence of pike. We also understand his admiration towards them. Similarly, in ‘Hunting Snake’ Judith Wright writes about her encounter with a snake which aroused a sense of fear and awe.
Sh e presented her ear through adjectives, and the different rhyme scheme of the last stanzas. In ‘Pike’, the first four stanzas, Hughes describes the pike using a lot Of adjecti ves to make pike sound lively. He contrasts their powerful form and terminal hunting capa bility with their graceful ability to move through the water. Pike are “perfect’, their bodies are “green tigering the gold” showing they are rare and beautiful. “Tigering” also gives us an imag e of the violent predator: a tiger, suggesting that pike are powerful like tigers, and are the kin gs in the lake.
The phrase “Killers from the eggs” may also conclude that pike are born as kill ers, indicating a sense of fear because they don’t choose to kill, killing is innate. Alongside thes e predatory images, Hughes also describes them with a “malevolent aged grin”. Here, pers onification is used, because only humans “grin” pike don’t. This gives them an even more fe arsome quality as it implies they think like humans. The word “Malevolent” also shows a sens e of evil, but Hughes contrasts the destructive image by continuing, ‘they dance on the sur ace among the files. The poet may be terrified and stunned by the pike, but at the same tim e he admires the pikes. The pike moved “over a bed of emerald and horror”. Hughes uses oxym oron, because emerald represents brightness, beauty, and is priceless, but silhouette is dark. The graphic imagery Of pike with “hooked clamp and fangs”, “fangs” are normally saying th e teeth of deadly creatures like snakes and spiders, and “clamp” also shows that pike ar e born to kill. In stanza five, the pace becomes faster as commas and colons are used repea edly.
The amount of pike decreases as this stanza goes on, the pike that Hughes own at e each other and “finally one” is left. The pike “spare nobody’, they don’t even spare each o ther, they are very intolerant. The pike were left “high and dry and dead in the willow herbs” , the poet uses a list of three to emphasise the murderous pike. One of the pike’s eye starred ” as a vice lock”, the simile is used to describe the unsettling and unmoving eye. The lake that the pike lived in has a “stilled legendary depth”.
The word “legen dary” gives the mpression of the pike outliving other beings, and creates a sense of admirati on. The lake was “as deep as England”, again using simile, the pond is as deep as England is Old . The poet was fishing in the lake and his hair is “frozen on my head’ as he thought of the pike. The last stanza uses the imagery of pike coldy watching the poet as he is in the pike’s t erritory, the poet ended the poem with notes of fear and terror. He sees pike as a worthy r ival and one deserving his respect.
In her poem ‘Hunting Snake’, Judith Wright also explores a creature’s ability to ossess attributes that are fearful as well as admirable. Wright Starts the poem with p ersonification, it was “sunwarmed in this late season’s grace”, the tranquil and calm opening g ives us the imagery an “autumn” day. She was walking under “autumn’s gentlest sky’, the n they “froze halfthrough a pace”. Wright uses caesura to highlight the change in tone from calm to fear, and using a superlative like “gentlest” highlights the delicate atmosphere, and the juxtaposition of ‘halffroze’ tells us something bizarre is going to happen.