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All the Dead Dears...

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

Sylvia Plath

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

Dry witness

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

Between tick

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


This is heavy stuff. I've been re-reading some of the Great Gatsby lately.

"The only completely stationary object in the room was an enormous couch on which two young women were buoyed up as though upon an anchored balloon. They were both in white, and their dresses were rippling and fluttering as if they had just been blown back in after a short flight around the house. I must have stood for a few moments listening to the whip and snap of the curtains and the groan of a picture on the wall. Then there was a boom as Tom Buchanan shut the rear windows and the caught wind died out about the room, and the curtains and the rugs and the two young women ballooned slowly to the floor."

I wish I could write like that!

January 26, 2009 at 7:14 PM  

I know excatly what you mean...Oh My God, a man after my own heart! I adore The Great Gatsby!!!The mental pictures that are painted in this book this book are simply wonderful. My copy looks like hell but I won't replace it because mine has so many memories(and notes in the margins =))

January 28, 2009 at 12:55 PM  

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