Monday, February 11, 2013

On the 50th anniversary of Sylvia Plath's death, and on Living

Today is all stiffening, glistening plow-made labyrinths and chapping whiteout gusts. Can you feel it, the feather weight of my heart? Its hot beat travels against frigid winds. One hears the shrieks of delighted children; one is stalked by a draft at the typewriter, in the incense-fogged kitchen. Our old house creaks and sighs, leans heavily on its ancient foundation. Me? I am scalding black tea swirling honey, I am piles of poems and a black patchouli-scented wrap. I am cotton summer dresses and July daydreams. 

Sylvia Plath? She would be in her 80th year. One can only pay homage in poems and ink, and by Living. Here is one poem that I internalized long long ago. I dedicate it to Kobi, whom I achingly miss: she was also intimate with this severely tender piece. Your words, KL (because words _are_ insular little selves), still buzz and rummage in my ear.

Morning Song 

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.

Sylvia Plath