Sunday, November 02, 2008

Resuming Sunday Plath


I'm a riddle in nine syllables.
An elephant, a ponderous house,
A melon strolling on two tendrils.
O red fruit, ivory, fine timbers!
This loaf's big with its yeasty rising.
Money's new-minted in this fat purse.
I'm a means, a stage, a cow in calf.
I've eaten a bag of green apples,
Boarded the train there's no getting off.

Sylvia Plath
March 20th 1959

This is more of an exercise than a poem, but a delightful thing it is. Plath was at Yaddo then, and on the verge of a poetic breakthrough; one that would give rise to a nascent
Ariel voice that would later provide her with a torrent of good poems.

But first she produced this aptly titled little nine-by-nine square poem.

Another work from this period, the seven-part Poem for a Birthday, and in particular its last section, The Stones, generally are considered to be the marking-point of something new and original arising in Plath's work. Coincidentally, it's dated "4 November 1959."

Let us hope.

1 comment:

Dominic Rivron said...

"Metaphors" has been a favourite of mine for years. It's a wonderful poem, I think, and, for me, it's formal symmetry neither intrudes nor detracts from it.

I was, incidentally, in Heptonstall churchyard (where Plath is buried)only last week.