Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sylvia Plath

Fever 103

Pure? What does it mean?
The tongues of hell
Are dull, dull as the triple

Tongues of dull, fat Cerebus
Who wheezes at the gate. Incapable
Of licking clean

The aguey tendon, the sin, the sin.
The tinder cries.
The indelible smell

Of a snuffed candle!
Love, love, the low smokes roll
From me like Isadora's scarves, I'm in a fright

One scarf will catch and anchor in the wheel.
Such yellow sullen smokes
Make their own element. They will not rise,

But trundle round the globe
Choking the aged and the meek,
The weak

Hothouse baby in its crib,
The ghastly orchid
Hanging its hanging garden in the air,

Devilish leopard!
Radiation turned it white
And killed it in an hour.

Greasing the bodies of adulterers
Like Hiroshima ash and eating in.
The sin. The sin.

Darling, all night
I have been flickering, off, on, off, on.
The sheets grow heavy as a lecher's kiss.

Three days. Three nights.
Lemon water, chicken
Water, water make me retch.

I am too pure for you or anyone.
Your body
Hurts me as the world hurts God. I am a lantern ---

My head a moon
Of Japanese paper, my gold beaten skin
Infinitely delicate and infinitely expensive.

Does not my heat astound you. And my light.
All by myself I am a huge camellia
Glowing and coming and going, flush on flush.

I think I am going up,
I think I may rise ---
The beads of hot metal fly, and I, love, I

Am a pure acetylene
Attended by roses,

By kisses, by cherubim,
By whatever these pink things mean.
Not you, nor him.

Not him, nor him
(My selves dissolving, old whore petticoats) ---
To Paradise.

-Sylvia Plath

here for Radish King's wonderful memorial to Sylvia,
my favorite poet.
Nancy C said...

Oh, me too. She's astonishing.

David Cranmer said...

Such powerful lines.

Terresa said...

{Chills...the good, thinking kind.}

Plath's "Cut" is brilliant as well. I long for her fierce clarity.

Dancing Branflake said...

The first part of the Bell Jar is one of my most favorite chapters of literature. I love her.

The Kitten and the Bear said...

This really spoke to me today. Thanks for posting.

Drax said...

Oh, Sylvia. (Longing.) "Oh, Sylvia." (A longing desire.) "Sylvia, Lady L." (Old English langian [grow long, prolong,] also [dwell in thought, yearn,] of Germanic origin; related to Dutch langen ‘present, offer’ and German langen ‘reach, extend.’)

jennifer said...

she was so great!!

Cid said...

Funny, this is just what my morning needed, a little Plath. Thank you.

ThiliBlooms said...

Your blog is beautiful! Thank you so much for your lovely comment on my blog :)
Have a wonderful day!

Nicole Smith said...

I read her journals a few years ago... I love her, thanks for sharing.

steenky bee said...

*Le sigh* Beautiful.

Amanda said...

She was such an amazing poet. I love her work too.

Lacey said...

Sylvia's my favorite, too. :-)

angela simione said...

i just listened to her reading this on youtube a cuople days ago. have you heard it?

Maggie May said...

yes i have! it's amazing.

Bethany said...

Did you ever read this?
You might like:

Stephanie said...

Hi Maggie!
I am sooo glad you found me too! I love your blog, I don't even know quite where to start.
Your quote about what love as compared to what you thought it would be made me heart melt. I share your exact sentiment.
Your poetry is brilliant and for my money, there is nothing more refreshing than people who are willing to tell their truth.
:-) Stephanie

Anonymous said...

I remember reading The Bell Jar when I was an older teen. Quite powerful. Her poetry is complex, she knows words like no other.

Existential Waitress said...

She one of my favorites too. She was and still is brilliant.

La Belette Rouge said...

I am a long time Sylvia fan. Love the image of her and her words. Fantastic.

Babe in Babeland said...

Sylvia Plath is wonderful...Beautiful beautiful!

Phoenix said...

"I am too pure for you or anyone.
Your body/Hurts me as the world hurts God. I am a lantern ---"

God, such beauty in her words. Beauty and pain. And truth, always truth, shining a little too brightly for everyone's comfort...but she refused to stop shining.

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