Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday Poetry: Plath 1956

Conversation Among the Ruins

Through portico of my elegant house you stalk
With your wild furies, disturbing garlands of fruit
And the fabulous lutes and peacocks, rending the net
Of all decorum which holds the whirlwind back.
Now, rich order of walls is fallen; rooks croak
Above the appalling ruin; in bleak light
Of your stormy eye, magic takes flight
Like a daunted witch, quitting castle when real days break.

Fractured pillars frame prospects of rock;
While you stand heroic in coat and tie, I sit
Composed in Grecian tunic and psyche-knot,
Rooted to your black look, the play turned tragic:
Which such blight wrought on our bankrupt estate,
What ceremony of words can patch the havoc?

Sylvia Plath

This is the first poem in "The Collected Poems; Sylvia Plath," posthumously published by her estranged husband Ted Hughes in 1981, almost two decades after Plath's death in 1963. It is dated from 1956, so it was likely written around the time that Hughes and Plath met and married.

In the summer of 1956 they honeymooned in Paris and Benidorm, Spain, which Plath described in her journals as a sunny and colorful. They returned to visit Ted's family in Yorkshire, a place hardly known for sunny weather.

In the sonnet two characters meet; perhaps Ted and Sylvia. Inner and outer weather. Transitional forms. From color to black-and-white, then unmended chaos.

No comments: