Sunday, January 16, 2005
Sunday, January 16, 2005
2 on a sheet as paper-white as snow;
3 a footprint, a miracle, it pointed ahead
4 and others followed dutifully as pets
5 stopping only to look forward and seize
6 unfolding years perched on blue lines,
7 wires carrying voices from eternity,
8 never faltering for phrases, life, or song.
9 This day would have been the day you died,
10 snow arriving silently with a snowy dawn.
11 Having this conversation with the future,
12 by now you've heard enough to know,
13 I'm pretending you were not found dead
15 hung out like laundry in a stiff breeze.
16 You record it in your diary, and it defines
17 that moment you were given a clarity,
18 setting you apart from others. All along
19 the sidewalks, people went on. You cried,
20 took the kids, and boarded a flight for Boston.
22 but with a self-centered dare: you must go
23 on writing, he said, taking your bag, I've read
24 your next poems, the ones you haven't yet
25 committed to paper. You learn that poetry sees
26 the truth in things, feels pain in the confines
27 of its prison heart; you pay for life with poetry.
28 You sit awake all night. Silence becomes song.
29 And all the language that might have died
30 rises from death and dances with the dawn.
32 followed in the Eighties by a Nobel. The slow
33 agonizing trial of writing uphill, the critics said,
34 burst you aflame with the love you once set
35 like an angry dog upon the world, the disease
36 of resistence kicking and screaming, bound by lines
37 where every word struggled to break free.
38 When they found you this morning in the wrong
39 history and wrong place, the truth inside
40 the truth revealed itself; the death of someone
41 who might have died years earlier from despair.
42 The weather report today said that snow
43 had fallen deeply over New England, and I read
44 that as sleep so numb and soundless you'd bet
45 not even a divine voice could sound to release
47 to the deaf, come forth and dance. Have charity
48 for those who suffer in the soul's deep gnawing
49grasp. Have mercy on us who have not died.
50Have hope for us who have not lived and drawn
51breath like courage in the stillness of deep winter.
52Obituaries wrangle the facts: the last, though
53not the least, of a generation of voices who led
54the charge against the ideal, preferring, as poets
55to delve into the psychology of self, never to please
56the reader, but to see the truth in its own designs.
57And so your blessing would have come. If pity
58is the soul of tragedy, you would have led a long
59life beating back catastrophe. Whatever. Inside
60each pen-stroke, each footprint, the lady trudges on.
1] An alternate history of the American poet Sylvia Plath (1932-63). Back to Line
14] Assia Wevill's affair with Ted Hughes led to his separation from Sylvia Plath and to her suicide at her house, 23 Fitzroy Road, Primrose Hill. Back to Line
21] Lowell: Robert Lowell, American poet. Back to Line
31] Plath's posthumously published collected poems won a Pulitzer Prize in 1982. Back to Line
46] Lady Lazarus: title of a poem by Sylvia Plath, about a woman brought back from the dead. Back to Line
Copyright (c) Bruce Meyer. Printed by permission of the author. Any other use, including reproduction for any purposes, educational or otherwise, will require explicit written permission from the poet.