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Virgin In A Tree

Written by: Sylvia Plath | Biography
 | Quotes (34) |
 How this tart fable instructs
And mocks! Here's the parody of that moral mousetrap
Set in the proverbs stitched on samplers
Approving chased girls who get them to a tree
And put on bark's nun-black

Habit which deflects
All amorous arrows.
For to sheathe the virgin shape In a scabbard of wood baffles pursuers, Whether goat-thighed or god-haloed.
Ever since that first Daphne Switched her incomparable back For a bay-tree hide, respect's Twined to her hard limbs like ivy: the puritan lip Cries: 'Celebrate Syrinx whose demurs Won her the frog-colored skin, pale pith and watery Bed of a reed.
Look: Pine-needle armor protects Pitys from Pan's assault! And though age drop Their leafy crowns, their fame soars, Eclipsing Eva, Cleo and Helen of Troy: For which of those would speak For a fashion that constricts White bodies in a wooden girdle, root to top Unfaced, unformed, the nipple-flowers Shrouded to suckle darkness? Only they Who keep cool and holy make A sanctum to attract Green virgins, consecrating limb and lip To chastity's service: like prophets, like preachers, They descant on the serene and seraphic beauty Of virgins for virginity's sake.
' Be certain some such pact's Been struck to keep all glory in the grip Of ugly spinsters and barren sirs As you etch on the inner window of your eye This virgin on her rack: She, ripe and unplucked, 's Lain splayed too long in the tortuous boughs: overripe Now, dour-faced, her fingers Stiff as twigs, her body woodenly Askew, she'll ache and wake Though doomsday bud.
Neglect's Given her lips that lemon-tasting droop: Untongued, all beauty's bright juice sours.
Tree-twist will ape this gross anatomy Till irony's bough break.



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