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.
Watch the short first then read my comment so there is no spoilers.
Beautiful, creepy short that brings alive a childhood memory, shared by a group of friends. The film starts off with a focus on a poster of a lost boy, but we never find out what happen to the boy, or why he is relevant. There is something so haunting about that poster, and the unanswered questions that follow. The film allows the audience to be caught up in the minds of these children and the dark distressing thoughts they possess; the uncertainness of growing up, the lack of trust towards adults and the attraction to the unknown. The film ends focussed on shop, and, as time going by, people come and go. After a while it is apparent that there is someone lying unconscious in the alleyway. Very disturbing, but never-the-less I am drawn to it.
Poem by Charles Bukowski, film by Jonathan Hodgson. Click here for more on Hodgson’s shorts.
It’s Raining cats and dogs –
The sky is going dark,
Instead of pitter-patter
Its splatter, yowl and bark
Bulldogs bounce on bonnets,
Alsatians hang in trees,
Poodles land on policemen
And bring them to their knees
Tabby cats come squealing
like rockets over head
Siamese look worried
At the pavement turning red
Its raining cats and dogs
Although it shouldn’t oughta.
Next time I pray for rain
I’ll add I mean water.
This is a poem from my first ever poetry collection: ‘The Day I Fell Down the Toilet’ by Steve Turner. I forgot all about this book, until the afternoon rain and suddenly the words came flooding back to be (excuse the terrible pun). This book is a good way to get kids interested in poetry, the poems are catchy, humorous and quirky. Here’s a link for the book on Amazon. If you like this check out ‘Dad, You’re Not Funny’ also by Turner.
The second Frank Blunt illustration of today (picture above). I thought it fit the poem very well. If you haven’t checked him out already, he’s awesome here’s his flicker.
Hope you enjoyed my little collaboration, try not to get too soaked out there.
She was a Phantom of delight
When first she gleamed upon my sight;
A lovely Apparition, sent
To be a moment’s ornament;
Her eyes as stars of Twilight fair;
Like Twilight’s, too, her dusky hair;
But all things else about her drawn
From May-time and the cheerful Dawn;
A dancing Shape, an Image gay,
To haunt, to startle, and waylay.
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.
There will be no ceremony
in a quiet wood for this. Today
the sun does not matter.
You have simply not made it
into existence. All science, all alchemy
have failed from the start.
There is only this
injury, nameless and wet.
You are everything I know now
of loss, the perfect
grey weight of it, constant,
which has turned down the light
in my face.
Had just one moment
of one month been different,
you would have been born
We would have made the drive
in the late afternoon,
past front rooms in Luddenden
yellow with warmth
a jewelery of light in each window
to see you erupt like summer
into our hands.
we have lost you
to a world where there is no word,
even for absence.
Whatever could have made you
is irrelevant. Today,
the slightest breeze could blow me
must love decorating for holidays
kissing in cars
and wind chimes
no specific height
or political affiliation required
but would prefer a warm spirited non racist
and “stick in the muds” need not reply
voluptuous figures a plus
any similarity in look, mind set, or fashion sense to
or elvira wholeheartedly welcomed
i am dubious of actresses, fellons, and lesbians
but dont want to rule them out entirely
must be tolerant of whistling
and sleeping late
i have a slight limp
eerily soft hands
and a preternatural love of autumn
I once misinterpreted being called a coal-eyed dandy as a compliment when it was intended as an insult
I wiggle my feet in my sleep
am scared of the dark
and think the Muppets Christmas Carol is one of the greatest films of all time
all i want is
butterfly kisses in the morning
peanut butter sandwiches shaped like a heart
and to make you smile until it hurts