Friday, October 28, 2011

For Sylvia on her birthday...

There is no life higher than the grasstops
Or the hearts of sheep, and the wind
Pours by like destiny, bending
Everything in one direction.
I can feel it trying
To funnel my heat away.
If I pay the roots of the heather
Too close attention, they will invite me
To whiten my bones among them.

Sylvia Plath, from her poem Wuthering Heights

image:  Study in Gray, Oak Grove Cemetery and Arboretum, Delaware, Ohio, October 2011


  1. That poem does something wild to me. Tonight there is wind and an icy rain here. "The wind pours by like destiny..."

    That line has always given me shivers.
    What a picture to go with it!

  2. For Sylvia, in hopes that her beautiful soul has found peace *raises glass*
    To Eva Descending the Stair

    Clocks cry: stillness is a lie, my dear;
    The wheels revolve, the universe keeps running.
    (Proud you halt upon the spiral stair.)

    The asteroids turn traitor in the air,
    And planets plot with old elliptic cunning;
    Clocks cry: stillness is a lie, my dear.

    Red the unraveled rose sings in your hair:
    Blood springs eternal if the heart be burning.
    (Proud you halt upon the spiral stair.)

    Cryptic stars wind up the atmosphere,
    In solar schemes the titled suns go turning;
    Clocks cry: stillness is a lie, my dear.

    Loud the immortal nightingales declare:
    Love flames forever if the flesh be yearning.
    (Proud you halt upon the spiral stair.)

    Circling zodiac compels the year.
    Intolerant beauty never will be learning.
    Clocks cry: stillness is a lie, my dear.
    (Proud you halt upon the spiral stair.)

  3. Intolerant beauty, indeed...thanks for this lovely tribute, Dr. L...

  4. Such a glorious feast of words here, in celebration of a life. thanks for both. I feel a shot of Wuthering Heights at the sight of the gravestone and the words that follow in the comments as well leave me breathless. thanks, Tess.

  5. I was reading some of her poetry, and this one really jumped out at me. Thanks for remembering her birthday. She is our sister...

  6. for sylvia plath (with thanks

    such a fragile bar of steel
    the heart which opens
    never count death
    as finished
    song life
    bittter isnt it

  7. I read a lot of plath and about plath at one time. still have a first edition hardback of winter trees. this poem though i am not sure i have read. i also forgot she had an October birthday. thanks.

  8. Beautiful, Zev...she was, indeed, a fragile bar of steel...thank you...

  9. Love Sylvia Plath...there is darkness in all of us...she found the words for hers

  10. Well said Sylvia. A poet amongst poets.

  11. She should have stayed away from the heather.

  12. Lovely image and words. Thanks.

  13. A touching tribute for a poet
    lost, burning so bright, and
    so beautiful, the flame snuffed
    itself out at the platter. The
    image is stunning too. A
    mercurial talent, her poetry
    endures even as her legacy

  14. I've long loved Sylvia Plath's ear for words, and in fact I wrote a post about her just a few weeks ago. I didn't realize the 27th was her birthday. Thanks for the reminder -- even though I'm seeing it late. :)

  15. 'a fragile bar of steel' - now those are words to behold in remembrance of a talent lost too soon.

  16. Black Pine Tree in an Orange Light

    Tell me what you see in it :
    The pine tree like a Rorschach-blot
    black against the orange light :
    Plant an orange pumpkin patch
    which at twelve will quaintly hatch
    nine black mice with ebon coach,
    or walk into the orange and make
    a devil's cataract of black
    obscure god's eye with corkscrew fleck;
    put orange mistress half in sun,
    half in shade, until her skin
    tattoos black leaves on tangerine.
    Read black magic or holy book
    or lyric of love in the orange and black
    till dark is conquered by orange cock,
    but more pragmatic than all this,
    say how crafty the painter was
    to make orange and black ambiguous.

    Sylvia Plath

  17. Tess,
    The poem provides the rays of wonder and hope. Thanks for sharing!


  18. R.A.D., I feel compelled to read "Black Pine Tree in an Orange Light" out loud...I like how it feels in my mouth. It's a rich, delicious mix of dark and quirky. You knew I would love this. It brings to mind the simple little poem by Nancy Byrd Turner I memorized as a little girl:

    Everything is black and gold,
    Black and gold, to-night:
    Yellow pumpkins, yellow moon
    Yellow candlelight;

    Jet-black cats with golden eyes
    Shadows black as ink,
    Firelight blinking in the dark
    With a yellow blink

    Black and gold, black and gold
    Nothing in between-
    When the world turns black and gold
    Then it's Halloween.

  19. Thanks for posting "Black Pine Tree..." is exquisite and perfect for her birthday. Dear Sylvia...the world into which you were born was not ready for your intensity, I fear this is true...I also fear I am a bit too much like you...

  20. Great image for a wonderful poem..


Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)