There was no fall
Only the breaking,
Only the mess;
The shards
Like glass, like ice.
Fractured pieces,
that once was whole.
Not Easter eggs,
or toy balloons,
or spinning globes –

Complete like
ripened oranges,
as round, as bright 
as Sun.

The break was slow –
so quiet,
Like sock-sheathed feet,
Tip-toes on sand.
No invite, no notice;
unannounced entry –
familiar stranger,
an unknown foe
darkening doorways,
slipping in.

He gave no bow,
Offered no name,
Once, I thought I knew it.
He was soundless, intent.
Path well cut,
goal just set:
Seek and destroy,
Seek and destroy.
He left a seed.
I watered; it grew.

In full form it towered
Like Jack’s beanstalk.
Then there were two of us;
that thing and me.
I named it Doubt. Misery.
Two voices, one mind.
My mind – a shell;
That Easter egg,
Or toy balloon, 
or spinning globe.

The voices:
Mine? His?
One thin, and weak;
The other? Like hell,
Like fee-fi-fo.
Clear and sharp,
Slicing the hum.
You can’t, it says.
And I listen.
I stop.

That voice? The power…
It is big as air.
More certain than
The rise-fall 
at my breast;
As constant as
The blood-beat 
at my temple.
Unyielding as night;
Obstinate as death. 

 

July 2011

sunflowers

  

The pain courses through me.
Fresh, intense,
Like the sharp edge of broken glass
taut against soft flesh.

I close my eyes and for a second,
You’re there—we’re there;
Together, happy, unknowing. 
The sunflowers you bought are still upright.

Smiling, like we are,
They sit in their vase.
Among us, a part of us—
a part of what we’ve made home.

Then—
another wave.
Reality, the ache.

And you’re gone.
We’re gone.

Not dead, but wilted;
Like your love for me.
Like those sunflowers.

May 2011

Ariel by Sylvia Plath

GENRE: Poetry | PAGES: 105

My rating: ★★★★

Bleak yet powerful and intense, Ariel by Sylvia Plath is, by far, my favourite collection of poetry. Undoubtedly, Sylvia Plath has a unique way with words. She transforms them into bewitching lyrics that resonate in endless and uniquely personal ways.

I read these poems over and over, caught up in the imagery she creates, the emotion she evokes. Each time, I take away a little more than I did the time before. Her work speaks to me (and countless others). Her open, uncensored outpouring of raw feeling is perfectly translated to the page.

Whilst each of her poems have meaning, I have some particular favourites in Ariel. The poem Elm spoke to me and so did Tulips, and since no amount of analysis can do her poetry justice, so instead, here’s my favourite piece from this collection:

Elm

I know the bottom, she says. I know it with my great tap root:
It is what you fear.
I do not fear it: I have been there.

Is it the sea you hear in me,
Its dissatisfactions?
Or the voice of nothing, that was your madness?

Love is a shadow.
How you lie and cry after it
Listen: these are its hooves: it has gone off, like a horse.

All night I shall gallop thus, impetuously,
Till your head is a stone, your pillow a little turf,
Echoing, echoing.

Or shall I bring you the sound of poisons?
This is rain now, this big hush.
And this is the fruit of it: tin-white, like arsenic.

I have suffered the atrocity of sunsets.
Scorched to the root
My red filaments burn and stand, a hand of wires.

Now I break up in pieces that fly about like clubs.
A wind of such violence
Will tolerate no bystanding: I must shriek.

The moon, also, is merciless: she would drag me
Cruelly, being barren.
Her radiance scathes me. Or perhaps I have caught her.

I let her go. I let her go
Diminished and flat, as after radical surgery.
How your bad dreams possess and endow me.

I am inhabited by a cry.
Nightly it flaps out
Looking, with its hooks, for something to love.

I am terrified by this dark thing
That sleeps in me;
All day I feel its soft, feathery turnings, its malignity.

Clouds pass and disperse.
Are those the faces of love, those pale irretrievables?
Is it for such I agitate my heart?

I am incapable of more knowledge.
What is this, this face
So murderous in its strangle of branches?——

Its snaky acids hiss.
It petrifies the will. These are the isolate, slow faults
That kill, that kill, that kill.

— Sylvia Plath

 

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Ariel by Sylvia Plath

 

“In these poems…Sylvia Plath becomes herself, becomes something imaginary, newly, wildly and subtly created. — From the Introduction by Robert Lowell