Sunday, June 03, 2007

If It's Sunday This Must be McLean

Plath wrote this poem in 1961, and it's rather simple to discern the experiences from which it is derived.

"The Hanging Man"

By the roots of my hair some god got hold of me.
I sizzled in his blue volts like a desert prophet.

The nights snapped out of sight like a lizard's eyelid :
A world of bald white days in a shadeless socket.

A vulturous boredom pinned me in this tree.
If he were I, he would do what I did.

This first appeared in Plath's second collection, the amazing Ariel released in 1965 after her death at age thirty. She herself did not include "The Hanging Man" in the list of poems she compiled for Ariel. It was added by her surviving husband Ted Hughes when he put out the book with the poems in a different order; adding some from those left uncollected by Plath, and deleting others.

Plath had read a book or a few about Tarot and probably had a Rider-Waite deck, as that was probably one of the few available back then.

And of course, there was that little thing with the electroconvulsive therapy.

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