Sunday, May 24, 2009

In Memory of Sylvia Plath

In Memory of Sylvia Plath

“For poetry makes—
nothing happen”
—W.H. Auden, “In Memory
of W.B. Yeats,” Another Time

“Love’s language
starts, stops, starts;
the right words
flowing or clotting
in the heart”
—Carol Ann Duffy
“Syntax,” Rapture

She disappeared—in the dead of winter
The pipes were frozen—the streets deserted
Her husband—had abandoned her for Assia
She warmed up the oven—as the mercury sank
Leaving the Ariel manuscript—on her desk
The day of her death—nobody left to thank

Far away in the dark—
The wolves in Regency Park—howled at night
The full moon tempted them—as well as her
Both wolves and wife—their mourning tongues
The death of a poet—was soon to come

For Sylvia it was—her last night to herself
An evening of fever—and fashionable poems
The provinces of her poetry—had revolted
The squares and hacks—wouldn’t be ready
Ariel would invade the future—as never before
Caliban had won—but Sylvia’s muse would fly

Now she scattered—among a thousand cities
And readers were given—unfamiliar insights
There was no happiness—in her marriage
Something punished her—a code of silence
The words of a dead woman—speak better
Than the words of her—poet laureate husband

What’s important—had lost all its importance
Mytholmroyd and Yorkshire—not really her home
The minions of the moors—beasts on the floor
Compared with the Duchess—from America
She had class—and class-consciousness too
Her loutish husband—the grim gamekeeper

But what books—and poetry
She left for us—at the end of the day

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