Monday, April 02, 2012

Hand That Pen Over to Me, Poetaster!

I've been writing poetry again. As a first sentence that has an ominous flavor, doesn't it? A little du Maurier-esque. And maybe it's for good reason.
I wrote lots of poetry in college, mostly for assignments; sestinas, villanelles, sonnets, abecedarians, DOUBLE abecedarians, and the occasional non-required formless thing, inevitably scribbled after midnight. I stopped reading poetry on such a regular basis about five years ago, and when I stopped consuming it, the urge to produce it ceased also. Maybe I'm having a bit of a bohemian renaissance, but something triggered the poem-hunger in my brain and now I'm revisiting my old favorites, buying new collections, and pausing to read the poems in The New Yorker (!).
Since April is poetry month, I thought I would share a new favorite by a classic: Sylvia Plath.
Read this one aloud to yourself, I promise you'll get chills.


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, the 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
Diminshed 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 irretrevables?
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 kiss.
It petrifies the will. These are the isolate, slow faults
That kill, that kill, that kill.

Whoa, Sylvia!
What poets are you reading now? How will you celebrate poetry month?


  1. You're right Seija, I did get chills!

    This month - like the other month for those people writing novels - there is a NaPoWriMo event in effect. And I am writing one bad poem after another: all in the privacy of my own journal. You can do that. Or you can sign up to be accountable with all the others trying out their couplets, quatrains, and such.

    This event is a relatively new thing ... and I heard about it, for first time this year, though one of my blogger friends who is a poet, too. (See Amanda Makepeace's blog Imagination Run Amok. She is posting a poem every day. Yay Amanda!)

    1. Thanks for the shout-out!! I'm finishing up today's poem now. :D


Thanks for your comment! We love hearing from you.

tell all your friends!