Sunday, March 16, 2008

Snow Sunday: Plath in November 1962

The Night Dances

A smile fell in the grass.

And how will your night dances
Lose themselves. In mathematics?

Such pure leaps and spirals -
Surely they travel

The world forever, I shall not entirely
Sit emptied of beauties, the gift

Of your small breath, the drenched grass
Smell of your sleeps, lilies, lilies.

Their flesh bears no relation.
Cold folds of ego, the calla,

And the tiger, embellishing itself -
Spots, and a spread of hot petals.

The comets
Have such a space to cross,

Such coldness, forgetfulness.
So your gestures flake off -

Warm and human, then their pink light
Bleeding and peeling

Through the black amnesias of heaven.
Why am I given

These lamps, these planets
Falling like blessings, like flakes

Six sided, white
On my eyes, my lips, my hair

Touching and melting.

Sylvia Plath
6 November 1962

With her marriage on the rocks, Plath decided to leave the cottage in Devon. She spent much of the month hunting for a place in London. To help her secure the apartment on Fitzroy Road, Ted posed as her still-present husband and together they put down over a year's worth of rent.

The flat, once occupied by Yeats also, is the one with the litle blue plaque. Ted visited often enough and took the children out to the nearby zoo.

Plath's journals fizzle out months before. Apparently she spent much of November moving. That was a notoriously cold winter in London, and I imagine she once found herself standing outside watching snowflakes twirling in the night, falling on her, melting.

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