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Elm

BY SYLVIA PLATH

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

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Worse even
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song, your silence." -
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SYLVIA PLATH
The floor seemed wonderfully solid. It was comforting to know I had fallen and could fall no farther...
SYLVIA PLATH
I didn't know why I was going to cry, but I knew that if anybody spoke to me or looked at me too clo...
SYLVIA PLATH
When they asked me what I wanted to be I said I didn’t know.
"Oh, sure you know," the photogr...
SYLVIA PLATH
The velvet dodges of the hypocrit
SYLVIA PLATH
It is as if my life were magically run by two electric currents: joyous positive and despairing nega...
SYLVIA PLATH
My world falls apart, crumbles, “The centre cannot hold.” There is no integrating force, only th...
SYLVIA PLATH
Here I am, a bundle of past recollections and future dreams, knotted up in a reasonably attractive b...
SYLVIA PLATH
In this particular tub, two knees jut up
like icebergs, while minute brown hairs rise
on a...
SYLVIA PLATH
Not easy to state the change you made.
If I'm alive now, I was dead,
Though, like a stone,...
SYLVIA PLATH
I am terrified by this dark thing
That sleeps in me;
All day I feel its soft, feathery tur...
SYLVIA PLATH
What did my fingers do before they held him?
What did my heart do, with its love?

Fr...
SYLVIA PLATH
Nothing stinks like a pile of unpublished writing.
SYLVIA PLATH
Later Buddy told me the woman was on a drug that would make her forget she'd had any pain and that w...
SYLVIA PLATH
I wanted to tell her that if only something were wrong with my body it would be fine, I would rather...
SYLVIA PLATH
Well, I know now. I know a little more how much a simple thing like a snowfall can mean to a person
SYLVIA PLATH