As my Barbican poet friends have informed me today marks the 50th anniversary of Sylvia Plath’s death. To celebrate her life and work on this humble blog I thought it’d be nice to share my favourite poem of hers; Morning Song. A poem about Plath’s personal battle with postnatal depression. I think it is an unsettling combination of striking beauty and emptiness.
Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.
Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.
I’m no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind’s hand.
All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.
One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat’s. The window square
Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.
The pattern above is by Samantha Hahn, it reminds me of the ‘flat pink roses’ described in the poem.
After the Trial
That was the eve
all was muted –
colour was glued
to the floor,
the radio was just
emptying like figs
into our ears.
There were no jokes.
No acorns rolling on
titled tables, or dolls
to play with.
All that was clear
was the orb
that rested in
Calling all Poets
If any of you love Scrabble as much as me then try this challenge. I came up with it after being up to my eyes in board games this Christmas… The next time you play a game challenge yourself to write a poem using the words you have created on your board. Sometimes random words can lead you into new, exciting territories that you would have never thought to explore.
This afternoon I actually tried it! Here is a photo of my game and the poem I wrote using the words on the board (see next post for poem). The process was really fun and resulted in something refreshing and abstract. It really got me out of writing patterns that I always fall in.
As always let me know what you think. If you can’t be bothered to play a game but you wanna try this feel free to use my board as inspiration. x
Pink apple soles
as the umbilical cord
tiny creased neck.
Your liquid lungs
do not scream,
The fusion of
could not save you.
I rest your fragile body
on my swollen breast,
until the doctor
takes you away.
So as I promised, I’ve uploaded a poem. This piece was inspired by the last post, a poem about a miscarriage. With ‘Harvey’ I wanted to convey a still birth with simple haunting images. I wanted to express the same feeling of loss that Clare Shaw initially touched on, but at the same time maintain my own poetic voice . This, unlike most my work, is not confessional. I just wanted to share what I felt after reading ‘The No Baby Poem’. She is a beautiful writer. Explore.
We still young. We
sip rum. We
play bridge. We
still live. We
lark loud. We
pace proud. We
wage war. We
know more. We
still young. We
[My response to We Real Cool, this time from the POV of the older generation]
Dominic (the boy) recorded me reading one of my poems today. ‘Father’s Heist’ has been published in ‘Poetry Rivals’ 2011 ‘In Heart and Mind’. I shall post a written copy of this in a few days.
Hope you enjoy someone reading for you, for once.
If you are secretive, we shall be suspicious.
If you have friends, we follow them.
If you make enemies, we encourage them.
If you want freedom, we fight back.
If you push us, we punish you.
If you taunt us, we torture you.
If you make love, we listen.
If you run away we hunt you down.