Saturday, January 26, 2008


I'm reading Plath's collected poems again. Mainly the ones from 1959, which are 3 years before the much darker ones that formed the final collection in Ariel.

What I like most is her unerring eye for how things look or appear. Blue Moles is a current favourite, two dead moles "shapeless as flung gloves" is just such brilliant description, giving you an instant picture.

I also love the prose extract included in The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Women Poets, it is taken from Ocean 1212-W and in it she describes growing up on the beach, "the rim of the last wave, marked by a mascara of tar."

Clearing up the garden this week I cleaned out the water butt, dredging it to get out all the fallen leaves, but the net brought up more than I bargained for.

So this is a short poem trying, probably with out success, to borrow Plath's dark observant eye.

The Butt

Slack water gives up a slick
of blackened leaves and
a dead toad, white
and gelatinous as spawn.
Limbs fanned, frozen
in shocked surprise,
as a monkey would be
puzzled if hanged
by a tree, or a spider
smothered by a web.
And yet natural elements
do kill.


Blogger Colin Will said...

I remember when my father got an allotment at Balgreen, there was a bad smell from the water butt. He pulled out a very dead cat. Then he made the mistake of delving further down. Yup, another dead cat. Now, can I get a poem out of that?

9:37 pm  
Blogger PI said...

That's brilliant Anna. I visited her grave in Heptonstall I think it was - the next valley to where I was born and bred. I used to think Ted was a monster but more recent writings absolve him. He was a very typical kind of Yorkshireman who can be their own worst enemy. Speaking as a Lancastrian of course.

9:34 am  
Blogger Colin Will said...

Believe it or not, I did get a poem out of it. It's on my blog.

11:38 am  
Blogger apprentice said...

Great poem you've written there Colin, I'm glad to have provided some inspiration -it's what blogs are good at I think.

Pat, thank you, although I'm still wrestling with the end.

12:05 pm  
Blogger apprentice said...

PS I doubt we'll ever know the truth of their relationship, they probably didn't even understand it.

12:08 pm  
Blogger Colin Will said...

I've been reading TH's letters, and I've just got to the ones around Sylvia's death. Their relationship was complex, but latterly it seemed to have been more destructive than constructive. They both contributed. His letters at this time are very remorseful, blaming himself for not seeing how bad Sylvia's state really was.

12:52 pm  

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