June 16, 2008

Sylvia Plath ~ Three Women (extracts)


First Voice

I am slow as the world. I am very patient,
Turning through my time, the suns and stars
Regarding me with attention.
The moon´s concern is more personal:
She passes and repasses, luminous as a nurse.
Is she sorry for what will happen? I do not think so.
She is simply astonished at fertility.

**************

What did my fingers do before they held him
What did my heart do, with its love?
I have never seen a thing so clear.
His lids are like the lilac-flower
And soft as a moth, his breath.
I shall not let go.
There is no guile or warp in him. May he keep so.

**************

What is it that flings these innocent souls at us?
Look, they are so exhausted, they are all flat out
In their canvas-sided cots, names tied to their wrists,
The little silver trophies they´ve come so far for.
There are some with thick black hair, there are some bald.
Their skin tints are pink or sallow, brown or red;
They are beginning to remember their differences.

**************

I think they are made of water; they have no expression.
Their features are sleeping, like light or quiet water.
Thes are the real monks and nuns in their identical garments.
I see them showering like stars on to the world -
On India, Africa, America, these miraculous ones,
These pure, small images. They smell of milk,
Their footsoles are untouched. They are walkers of air.

*************

Can nothingness be so prodigal?
Here is my son.
His wide eye is that general, flat blue.
He is turning to me like a little, blind, bright plant.
One cry: It is the hook I hang on.
And I am a river of milk,
I am a warm hill.

***********

How long can I be a wall, keeping the wind off?
How long can I be
Gentling the sun with the shade of my hand,
Intercepting the blue bolts of a cold moon?
The voices of loneliness, the voices of sorrow
Lap at my back ineluctably.
How shall it soften them, this little lullaby?

How long can I be a wall around my green property?
How long can my hands
Be a bandage to his hurt, and my words
Bright birds in the sky, consoling, consoling?
It is a terrible thing
To be so open: it is as if my heart
Put on a face and walked into the world.

************

I shall meditate upon normality.
I shall meditate upon my little son.
He does not walk. He does not speak a word.
He is still swaddled in white bands.
But he is pink and perfect. He smiles so frequently.
I have papered his room with big roses,
I have painted little hearts on everything.

I do not will him to be exceptional.
It is the exception that interests the devil.
It is the exceptilon that climbs the sorrowful hill
Or sits in the desert and hurts his mother´s heart.
I will him to be common.
To love me as I love him.
And to marry what he wants and where he will.

************

Third Voice

The swans are gone. Still the river
Remembers how white they were.
It strives after them with its lights.
It finds their shapes in a cloud.
What is that bird that cries
With such sorrow in its voice?
I am young as ever, it says. What is it I miss?

These verses are taken from Sylvia Plath´s poem "Three women ~ A Poem for Three Voices", written 1960