Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Elm

for Ruth Fainlight

I know the bottom, she says. I know it with my great tap root;
It is what you fear.
I do not fear it: I have been there.

Is it the sea you hear in me,
Its dissatisfactions?
Or the voice of nothing, that was your madness?

Love is a shadow.
How you lie and cry after it.
Listen: these are its hooves: it has gone off, like a horse.

All night I shall gallop thus, impetuously,
Till your head is a stone, your pillow a little turf,
Echoing, echoing.

Or shall I bring you the sound of poisons?
This is rain now, this big hush.
And this is the fruit of it: tin-white, like arsenic.

I have suffered the atrocity of sunsets.
Scorched to the root
My red filaments burn and stand, a hand of wires.

Now I break up in pieces that fly about like clubs.
A wind of such violence
Will tolerate no bystanding: I must shriek.

The moon, also, is merciless: she would drag me
Cruelly, being barren.
Her radiance scathes me. Or perhaps I have caught her.

I let her go. I let her go
Diminished and flat, as after radical surgery.
How your bad dreams possess and endow me.

I am inhabited by a cry.
Nightly it flaps out
Looking, with its hooks, for something to love.

I am terrified by this dark thing
That sleeps in me;
All day I feel its soft, feathery turnings, its malignity.

Clouds pass and disperse.
Are those the faces of love, those pale irretrievables?
Is it for such I agitate my heart?

I am incapable of more knowledge.
What is this, this face
So murderous in its strangle of branches? ----

Its snaky acids kiss.
It petrifies the will. These are the isolate, slow faults
That kill, that kill, that kill.


- Sylvia Plath, 1962

8 comments:

steve said...

i don't know if this be poetry or Prose, but it is absolutely chillingly beautiful with words and phrases that have taste and texture and feel... as soon as one phrase scrapes another soothes...I don't follow it all the way though, a little to thick for my understanding unless I were to study it a bit.
RE Bulletholes...you seldom see a comment that takes exception or seems to challenge... everyone wants to agree with what you have said...I wrote a post one time talking about how I would never be employed as a Chef again and one of the comments was 'Really, where at?"... DUH! Maybe its the Chef in me that thrives on a little challenge and confrontation.. I asssure you I can change my view as well as take a punch...I absolutely loved it when Citizen H called me a while back, it wasn't all that bad but I liked that he pointed it out! I think we are all on the same page, mostly!
Cheers!!!

steve said...

and if you were kind enough to leave Water Baby a comment on her site she would be thrilled; she is a little shy and doesn't think she can keep up... i think different. I hope I did the link task rightly...

kissyface said...

as soon as one phrase scrapes another soothes.

if you can write that, you can't be too 'thick' to understand. sometimes it's easier to digest if you read it aloud to yourself, or whomever else will bear it.

thank you for abiding the "challenge." i don't really mean to tell anyone they are wrong about anything. it does put a grin on your face to have a go with an honorable sparring partner, doesn't it? good sportsmanship, and all that. some of my biggest crushes followed such antics. though i'm not a fighter in a relationship, it can be a great source of flirtation.

i never knew you were a chef, perhaps i read carelessly, or started too late. i worked in restaurants; chefs are CRAZY, like DRUMMERS!

waterbaby - done.

Water Baby said...

I like drummers....

kissyface said...

water baby - stay away from musicians! trust me on this one, i know from experience. are you a water sign? if so, you are doomed to ignore this piece of advice. good luck to you.

UF Mike said...

Christ! I read the whole thing thinking, Christ, she's as good as Sylvia Plath! Till I got to the bottom, and realized it was Sylvia Plath. I've known some atrocious sunsets myself. But they're nothing compared to the atrocious dawns I've known. Nothing!

kissyface said...

Mike - then you weren't wrong! she is as good as Sylvia Plath! and she describes precisely how i was feeling when i posted this. lucky lucky me!

steve said...

Got a friend that is a Chef AND a drummer...that boy is CRAY-ZEE!!!