Monday, June 27, 2011
(Mother and Child by Paul Klee, 1879-1940, Swiss
Some of Sylvia Plath’s poems are intense expressions of her inner turmoil. They can be difficult to read.
This poem reveals her deep conflict within. As a mother, she writes tenderly and hopefully of the happiness she wishes for her child. But then, in the final stanza, she cannot avoid exposing her own pessimism and pain.
Two weeks after writing this, she committed suicide, leaving two children behind. She was only thirty years old. Decades later, her husband, the poet Ted Hughes, published a collection of his own verse, Birthday Letters, in which he broke his silence about his grief at losing her.
Your clear eye is the one absolutely beautiful thing.
I want to fill it with color and ducks.
The zoo of the new
Whose names you meditate —
April snowdrops, Indian pipe,
Stalk without wrinkle,
Pool in which images
Should be grand and classical
Not this troublous
Wring of hands, this dark
Ceiling without a star.
~ Sylvia Plath (1932-1963), American poet, and writer of novels and short stories