Cleaving Ariel

Nike of Samothrace Louvre

Sylvia Plath Version

“It was a place
of force…”
—Sylvia Plath,

I was sick—of him
By then—the malignity
Of his great—male beauty
Had lost its—extravagance
His love—more like torture

His fist—wrapping around
My throat—gagging me
With my hair—blowing in
The sea-cliff—wind above
An oil-slick—spreading below

His tall dark—handsome
Face no longer—blinding me
With Mytholmroyd—grace
And magic—now he was
Just one big fat—Zero

There was—only one place
Left to go—back to America
A teaching job—at Smith
A couple of kids—some grief
Leaving behind—Yeats etc.

I was sick—of Ted Hughes
My love life—narrowed
Down to a—blinking red
Empty—lonely goodbye
Motel—vacancy sign

I felt—a still busyness
Deep inside me—growing
A different kind—of poetry
Different than—Lowell
More blunt—than Sexton

Suddenly—I was Ariel
My Tempest—was over
My Other—cocky Caliban
Could keep—England
Old Island—of shipwrecks

I’d give—another reading
Another BBC—bombshell
Not just Daddy—but the
Whole goddamned—thing
ARIEL—broadcast LIVE!!!

(then a knock at the door….)

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