I discovered Sylvia Plath quite some time ago (err I think was 12 or had just turned 13). I read the Bell Jar and was convinced of her brilliance. On the outside she was composed, perfect student and daughter but on the inside a war of pain was raging. She kept in hidden under the mask of perfection but soon the pain crushed her and she decided to overdose on sleeping pills(she wasn't successful in suicide--this time.) I felt an instant kinship with her, at the time I was going through something similar. Hiding feelings from people for their and my benefit,we will leave it at that. It sounds a bit odd to say that the Bell Jar helped me heal after such a great lose but it's true.
I will always think of Sylvia as the person who pulled me out of the hell that is losing a loved one....this is one of my favorite Plath poems.
All the Dead Dears
In the Archaeological Museum in Cambridge is a stone
coffin of the fourth century A.D. containing the skeletons
of a woman, a mouse and a shrew. The ankle-bone of the
woman has been slightly gnawed.
Rigged poker -stiff on her back
With a granite grin
This antique museum-cased lady
Lies, companioned by the gimcrack
Relics of a mouse and a shrew
That battened for a day on her ankle-bone.
These three, unmasked now, bear
To the gross eating game
We'd wink at if we didn't hear
Stars grinding, crumb by crumb,
Our own grist down to its bony face.
How they grip us through think and thick,
These barnacle dead!
This lady here's no kin
Of mine, yet kin she is: she'll suck
Blood and whistle my narrow clean
To prove it.
As I think now of her hand,
From the mercury-backed glass
Mother, grandmother, greatgrandmother
Reach hag hands to haul me in,
And an image looms under the fishpond surface
Where the daft father went down
With orange duck-feet winnowing this hair ---
All the long gone darlings: They
Get back, though, soon,
Soon: be it by wakes, weddings,
Childbirths or a family barbecue:
Any touch, taste, tang's
Fit for those outlaws to ride home on,
And to sanctuary: usurping the armchair
And tack of the clock, until we go,
Each skulled-and-crossboned Gulliver
Riddled with ghosts, to lie
Deadlocked with them, taking roots as cradles rock.
Have a Poetic Friday