Yesterday, it would have been Ted Hughes’ birthday, and a chance remark from a friend reminded me of the poet’s fatherly advice in the final paragraph of this letter, sent to his son Nicholas in 1986. It struck me as something my own father might well have said, too.
‘The only calibration that counts is how much heart people invest, how much they ignore their fears of being hurt or caught out or humiliated. And the only thing people regret is that they didn’t live boldly enough, that they didn’t invest enough heart, didn’t love enough. Nothing else really counts at all.’
(Letters of Ted Hughes, 2008. Ted Hughes, editor Christopher Reid)