I Miss Sylvia Plath

Good morning everyone, in sticking with my Saturday Poem sharing I present my favorite Sylvia Plath poem, The Colossus. The poem was released in 1960 as part of a collection called The Colossus and Other Poems. The collection stands as the only selections of poetry Sylvia published before her death at age 30 in 1963.

The poem is full of wonderful imagery that was a hallmark of her work, she had a way of telling you something in her poem but also leaving it to the reader’s own interpretation. My favorite line is ” I crawl like an ant in mourning”

Sylvia was prolific in her short 30 years on the planet, I’d invite you to grab a cup of coffee and pull it close and enjoy this poem and then search out more of her work, she also published a novel, The Bell Jar that has a place among the best American literature. Have a great day and keep reading.

The Colossus

I shall never get you put together entirely,
Pieced, glued, and properly jointed.
Mule-bray, pig-grunt and bawdy cackles
Proceed from your great lips.
It’s worse than a barnyard.
Perhaps you consider yourself an oracle,
Mouthpiece of the dead, or of some god or other.
Thirty years now I have labored
To dredge the silt from your throat.
I am none the wiser.
Scaling little ladders with glue pots and pails of lysol
I crawl like an ant in mourning
Over the weedy acres of your brow
To mend the immense skull plates and clear
The bald, white tumuli of your eyes.
A blue sky out of the Oresteia
Arches above us. O father, all by yourself
You are pithy and historical as the Roman Forum.
I open my lunch on a hill of black cypress.
Your fluted bones and acanthine hair are littered
In their old anarchy to the horizon-line.
It would take more than a lightning-stroke
To create such a ruin.
Nights, I squat in the cornucopia
Of your left ear, out of the wind,
Counting the red stars and those of plum-color.
The sun rises under the pillar of your tongue.
My hours are married to shadow.
No longer do I listen for the scrape of a keel
On the blank stones of the landing.

Stopping for Death with Emily D.

Good Saturday to you all, today I’ll share another of my favorite poems with you. It’s Because I Could Not Stop For Death by Emily Dickinson. This poem was published in 1890 after Emily’s death. She was not a known poet in her life time, she came for a very wealthy family that were apparent pillars of the community. Emily was often thought of as ecentric and probably a little weird which makes you love her even more. She was known to wear mostly white and keep to herself and write. As she grew older she about became a complete recluse and rarely left her room. When she died her younger sister found 1800 poems that Emily had written. She was first published posthumously in 1890 by some acquaintances, although grossly over edited from the original work. Emily didn’t title her poems, and her puncuation and sentence structure was wild and free roaming. Her early publishers didn’t trust her instinct and I assume they mansplaned editing and poetry and made some cash selling bastardized, but still great poetry. Scholar Thomas Johnson would find and return Dickinson’s work to her original writing and publish a collection as she intended in 1955.

Here is my favorite Emily Dickinson poem as she intended, Number 479.

Because I could not stop for Death – (479)

Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me –
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
And Immortality.
We slowly drove – He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility –
We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess – in the Ring –
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain –
We passed the Setting Sun –
Or rather – He passed Us –
The Dews drew quivering and Chill –
For only Gossamer, my Gown –
My Tippet – only Tulle –
We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground –
The Roof was scarcely visible –
The Cornice – in the Ground –
Since then – ’tis Centuries – and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses’ Heads
Were toward Eternity –

The Emperor of Ice Cream

Hello everyone. Hope you all are staying dry on this rainy Saturday in February. Today I’m gonna share one of my favorite poets with you, Wallace Stevens.

Wallace Stevens was born in October 2nd, 1879 in Reading, Pennsylvania. He was Harvard Educated and a graduate of the New York Law School. He was a fantastic Modernist American Poet, he spent his life as an insurance agent. He lived 2 lives of sorts. This was especially evident at his funeral in 1955 when a large turn out gathered to pay their respects. Half the crowd were friends from his long professional life. The other half were fans of his poetry. Either side had the full picture of the man in his entirety.

The poem I’m sharing is a study upon a elderly lady’s death and the work about way to which life inevitably goes on. It’s called The Emperor of Ice-Cream.

The Emperor of Ice-Cream

Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
Let the wenches dawdle in such dress
As they are used to wear, and let the boys
Bring flowers in last month's newspapers.
Let be be finale of seem.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

Take from the dresser of deal,
Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet
On which she embroidered fantails once
And spread it so as to cover her face.
If her horny feet protrude, they come
To show how cold she is, and dumb.
Let the lamp affix its beam.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

Towards the Vault 

I impossibly can’t wait for this to end.

A long box and several flowers occupy the center of the mind.

Tiny cards make an attempt to convey something.

A hired gun wields the Word towards sheep that are not his flock.

I stare down at the carpet and marvel at how it’s woven together.

A giant machine must do this.

I’m beyond ready for earth to fly. Shovels full of hard soil and blades of grass. 

Surely someone benefits.  Not me or the long box contents. 

Someome pull the gear selector down. Back us up and back away. 

Push it hard down drive and just plow through.

Just get away.

Looking at Frost

Happy weekend everyone. We got a little bit of snow last night and this cold, dark time of year always makes me think of one of my all time favorite poems Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening, by Robert Frost.

Robert Frost had already failed at farming and was writing a lot and teaching to help pay the bills. He would rise to fame first in England and then find his audience at home. This poem came out four years before he would go on to win the first of his four Pulitzers.

Stopping by woods, is a about a man making his way home and it’s dark and snowy. He stops his horse by a woods full of deep snow and just marvles at it for awhile.  I figure it’s shortly after the Winter Solstice when the days are oh so short.  He was at peace being there but then comes my favorite lines of the poem. “But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep. I love so much that the last line repeats.  Here’s poem:

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

BY ROBERT FROST

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake

The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.

The only other sound’s the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

And here’s Robert Frost reading it himself. Happy New Year everyone.

https://youtu.be/hfOxdZfo0gs