Sylvia Plath: A Few Favorites

Over the past six months or so, I've been sporadically reading an Everyman's Library Pocket Poets collection of Sylvia Plath's poetry.

 What a brilliant yet tortured soul. I studied and wrote about her work a bit during my undergrad days, but I honestly hadn't thought of her since. It was nice, perhaps even more rewarding than before, to read her poetry at my leisure without the pressures of academia breathing down my neck. In fact, I actually enjoyed her earlier works best, despite what most of her critics say. Here are just a few of my favorites:

Song For A Summer's Day
Through fen and farmland walking
With my own country love
I saw slow flocked cows move
White hulks on their day's cruising;
Sweet grass sprang for their grazing.

The air was bright for looking:
Most far in blue, aloft,
Clouds steered a burnished drift;
Larks' nip and tuck arising
Came in for my love's praising.

Sheen of the noonsun striking
Took my heart as if
It were a green-tipped leaf
Kindled by my love's pleasing
Into an ardent blazing.

And so, together, talking,
Through Sunday's honey-air
We walked (and still walk there---
Out of the sun's bruising)
Till the night mists came rising.


Letter To A Purist
That grandiose colossus who
Stood astride
The envious assaults of sea
(Essaying, wave by wave,
Tide by tide,
To undo him, perpetually),
Has nothing on you,
O my love,
O my great idiot, who
With one foot
Caught (as it were) in the muck-trap
Of skin and bone,
Dithers with the other way out
In preposterous provinces of the madcap
Agawp at the impeccable moon.


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.

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