Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes are confessional poems that show retrospection on his relationship with his wife, Sylvia Plath. I believe these poems were Hughes finding true retrospection of his life with Plath. He speaks of many instances in their lives and seems to view them and try to sort out his emotions about his wife and their time together.
In “The Rabbit Catcher” by Hughes he speaks of an instance where Plath reacted very dramatically towards a man setting snares to catch rabbits. This poem is just one of many moments in “Birthday Letters” where Hughes looks back and wonders what a moment in their life together really meant. The last stanza of “The Rabbit Catcher” is Hughes trying to understand Plath’s actions.
“In those snares
You’d caught something.
Had you caught something in me,
Nocturnal and unknown to me? Or was it
Your doomed self, your tortured, crying,
Suffocating self? Whichever,
Those terrible, hypersensitive
Fingers of your verse closed round it and
Felt it alive. The poems, like smoking entrails,
Came soft into your hands.”
Here Hughes is pondering if Plath sees the rabbits in the snares as symbol for herself being trapped in her own existence. Additionally, int he last line it would seem that Plath could be seen as the rabbit catcher; the rabbits are the poems catching them and using them to sustain herself in her own entrapment. Plath is both trapped and the trapper.