Sunday, September 16, 2007

Another Sunday Plath Poem

The Dead

Revolving in oval loops of solar speed,
Couched in cauls of clay as in holy robes,
Dead men render love and war no heed,
Lulled in the ample womb of the full-tilt globe.

No spiritual Caesars are these dead;
They want no proud paternal kingdom come;
And when at last they blunder into bed
World-wrecked, they seek only oblivion.

Rolled round with goodly loam and cradled deep,
These bone shanks will not wake immaculate
To trumpet-toppling dawn of doomstruck day :
They loll forever in colossal sleep;
Nor can God's stern, shocked angels cry them up
From their fond, final, infamous decay.

An early poem, one which her husband Ted Hughes saw fit to include in his collection of her "Complete Poems" which was published well after Sylvia's death.

A lot of people are first drawn to Plath's work by her biography, but after learning a little about her they realize that she was an absolutely astonishing master of her craft. This is so evident in her early efforts such as this sonnet. It's all there; the warm sea, the easterly breezes, the seasonal currents, and the tipping of the butterfly's wing.

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