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Elm Analysis

Author: poem of Sylvia Plath Type: poem Views: 37

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          for Ruth Fainlight

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 you 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 gallup 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, the 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.


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