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Best Famous Sylvia Plath Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Sylvia Plath poems. This is a select list of the best famous Sylvia Plath poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Sylvia Plath poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Sylvia Plath poems.

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by Sylvia Plath | |

Winter Trees

The wet dawn inks are doing their blue dissolve.
On their blotter of fog the trees Seem a botanical drawing-- Memories growning, ring on ring, A series of weddings.
Knowing neither abortions nor bitchery, Truer than women, They seed so effortlessly! Tasting the winds, that are footless, Waisting-deep in history-- Full of wings, otherworldliness.
In this, they are Ledas.
O mother of leaves and sweetness Who are these peitas? The shadows of ringdoves chanting, but easing nothing.
note: 12 Ledas: Leda, the maiden who was raped by Zeus in the guise of a swan.


by Sylvia Plath | |

Morning Song

Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry Took its place among the elements.
Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival.
New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness Shadows our safety.
We stand round blankly as walls.
I'm no more your mother Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow Effacement at the wind's hand.
All night your moth-breath Flickers among the flat pink roses.
I wake to listen: A far sea moves in my ear.
One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat's.
The window square Whitens and swallows its dull stars.
And now you try Your handful of notes; The clear vowels rise like balloons.
(1961)


by Sylvia Plath | |

Words

Axes 
After whose stroke the wood rings, 
And the echoes! 
Echoes traveling 
Off from the center like horses.
The sap Wells like tears, like the Water striving To re-establish its mirror Over the rock That drops and turns, A white skull, Eaten by weedy greens.
Years later I Encounter them on the road--- Words dry and riderless, The indefatigable hoof-taps.
While From the bottom of the pool, fixed stars Govern a life.


by Sylvia Plath | |

Event

How the elements solidify! ---
The moonlight, that chalk cliff
In whose rift we lie

Back to back.
I here an owl cry From its cold indigo.
Intolerable vowels enter my heart.
The child in the white crib revolves and sighs, Opens its mouth now, demanding.
His little face is carved in pained, red wood.
Then there are the stars - ineradicable, hard.
One touch : it burns and sickens.
I cannot see your eyes.
Where apple bloom ices the night I walk in a ring, A groove of old faults, deep and bitter.
Love cannot come here.
A black gap discloses itself.
On the opposite lip A small white soul is waving, a small white maggot.
My limbs, also, have left me.
Who has dismembered us? The dark is melting.
We touch like cripples.


by Sylvia Plath | |

Crossing the Water

Black lake, black boat, two black, cut-paper people.
Where do the black trees go that drink here? Their shadows must cover Canada.
A little light is filtering from the water flowers.
Their leaves do not wish us to hurry: They are round and flat and full of dark advice.
Cold worlds shake from the oar.
The spirit of blackness is in us, it is in the fishes.
A snag is lifting a valedictory, pale hand; Stars open among the lilies.
Are you not blinded by such expressionless sirens? This is the silence of astounded souls.


by Sylvia Plath | |

The Rival

If the moon smiled, she would resemble you.
You leave the same impression Of something beautiful, but annihilating.
Both of you are great light borrowers.
Her O-mouth grieves at the world; yours is unaffected, And your first gift is making stone out of everything.
I wake to a mausoleum; you are here, Ticking your fingers on the marble table, looking for cigarettes, Spiteful as a woman, but not so nervous, And dying to say something unanswerable.
The moon, too, abases her subjects But in the daytime she is ridiculous.
Your dissatisfactions, on the other hand, Arrive through the mailslot with loving regularity, White and blank, expansive as carbon monoxide.
No day is safe from news of you, Walking about in Africa maybe, but thinking of me.


by Sylvia Plath | |

Ariel

Stasis in darkness.
Then the substanceless blue Pour of tor and distances.
God's lioness, How one we grow, Pivot of heels and knees! ---The furrow Splits and passes, sister to The brown arc Of the neck I cannot catch, Nigger-eye Berries cast dark Hooks --- Black sweet blood mouthfuls, Shadows.
Something else Hauls me through air --- Thighs, hair; Flakes from my heels.
White Godiva, I unpeel --- Dead hands, dead stringencies.
And now I Foam to wheat, a glitter of seas.
The child's cry Melts in the wall.
And I Am the arrow, The dew that flies, Suicidal, at one with the drive Into the red Eye, the cauldron of morning.


by Sylvia Plath | |

On Looking Into The Eyes Of A Demon Lover

 Here are two pupils
whose moons of black
transform to cripples
all who look:

each lovely lady
who peers inside
take on the body
of a toad.
Within these mirrors the world inverts: the fond admirer's burning darts turn back to injure the thrusting hand and inflame to danger the scarlet wound.
I sought my image in the scorching glass, for what fire could damage a witch's face? So I stared in that furnace where beauties char but found radiant Venus reflected there.


by Sylvia Plath | |

Jilted

 My thoughts are crabbed and sallow,
My tears like vinegar,
Or the bitter blinking yellow
Of an acetic star.
Tonight the caustic wind, love, Gossips late and soon, And I wear the wry-faced pucker of The sour lemon moon.
While like an early summer plum, Puny, green, and tart, Droops upon its wizened stem My lean, unripened heart.


by Sylvia Plath | |

Strumpet Song

 With white frost gone
And all green dreams not worth much,
After a lean day's work
Time comes round for that foul slut:
Mere bruit of her takes our street
Until every man,
Red, pale or dark,
Veers to her slouch.
Mark, I cry, that mouth Made to do violence on, That seamed face Askew with blotch, dint, scar Struck by each dour year.
Walks there not some such one man As can spare breath To patch with brand of love this rank grimace Which out from black tarn, ditch and cup Into my most chaste own eyes Looks up.


by Sylvia Plath | |

Marys Song

 The Sunday lamb cracks in its fat.
The fat Sacrifices its opacity.
.
.
.
A window, holy gold.
The fire makes it precious, The same fire Melting the tallow heretics, Ousting the Jews.
Their thick palls float Over the cicatrix of Poland, burnt-out Germany.
They do not die.
Grey birds obsess my heart, Mouth-ash, ash of eye.
They settle.
On the high Precipice That emptied one man into space The ovens glowed like heavens, incandescent.
It is a heart, This holocaust I walk in, O golden child the world will kill and eat.


by Sylvia Plath | |

Stillborn

 These poems do not live: it's a sad diagnosis.
They grew their toes and fingers well enough, Their little foreheads bulged with concentration.
If they missed out on walking about like people It wasn't for any lack of mother-love.
O I cannot explain what happened to them! They are proper in shape and number and every part.
They sit so nicely in the pickling fluid! They smile and smile and smile at me.
And still the lungs won't fill and the heart won't start.
They are not pigs, they are not even fish, Though they have a piggy and a fishy air -- It would be better if they were alive, and that's what they were.
But they are dead, and their mother near dead with distraction, And they stupidly stare and do not speak of her.


by Sylvia Plath | |

Faun

 Haunched like a faun, he hooed
From grove of moon-glint and fen-frost
Until all owls in the twigged forest
Flapped black to look and brood
On the call this man made.
No sound but a drunken coot Lurching home along river bank.
Stars hung water-sunk, so a rank Of double star-eyes lit Boughs where those owls sat.
An arena of yellow eyes Watched the changing shape he cut, Saw hoof harden from foot, saw sprout Goat-horns.
Marked how god rose And galloped woodward in that guise.


by Sylvia Plath | |

Full Fathom Five

 Full fathom five thy father lies; 
Of his bones are coral made; 
Those are pearls that were his eyes: 
Nothing of him that doth fade 
But doth suffer a sea-change 
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell: Ding-dong.
Hark! now I hear them,--ding-dong, bell.


by Sylvia Plath | |

Winter Landscape With Rooks

 Water in the millrace, through a sluice of stone,
 plunges headlong into that black pond
where, absurd and out-of-season, a single swan
 floats chaste as snow, taunting the clouded mind
which hungers to haul the white reflection down.
The austere sun descends above the fen, an orange cyclops-eye, scorning to look longer on this landscape of chagrin; feathered dark in thought, I stalk like a rook, brooding as the winter night comes on.
Last summer's reeds are all engraved in ice as is your image in my eye; dry frost glazes the window of my hurt; what solace can be struck from rock to make heart's waste grow green again? Who'd walk in this bleak place?


by Sylvia Plath | |

Kindness

 Kindness glides about my house.
Dame Kindness, she is so nice! The blue and red jewels of her rings smoke In the windows, the mirrors Are filling with smiles.
What is so real as the cry of a child? A rabbit's cry may be wilder But it has no soul.
Sugar can cure everything, so Kindness says.
Sugar is a necessary fluid, Its crystals a little poultice.
O kindness, kindness Sweetly picking up pieces! My Japanese silks, desperate butterflies, May be pinned any minute, anesthetized.
And here you come, with a cup of tea Wreathed in steam.
The blood jet is poetry, There is no stopping it.
You hand me two children, two roses.


by Sylvia Plath | |

Metaphors

 I'm a riddle in nine syllables,
An elephant, a ponderous house,
A melon strolling on two tendrils.
O red fruit, ivory, fine timbers! This loaf's big with its yeasty rising.
Money's new-minted in this fat purse.
I'm a means, a stage, a cow in calf.
I've eaten a bag of green apples, Boarded the train there's no getting off.


by Sylvia Plath | |

Mushrooms

 Overnight, very
Whitely, discreetly,
Very quietly

Our toes, our noses
Take hold on the loam,
Acquire the air.
Nobody sees us, Stops us, betrays us; The small grains make room.
Soft fists insist on Heaving the needles, The leafy bedding, Even the paving.
Our hammers, our rams, Earless and eyeless, Perfectly voiceless, Widen the crannies, Shoulder through holes.
We Diet on water, On crumbs of shadow, Bland-mannered, asking Little or nothing.
So many of us! So many of us! We are shelves, we are Tables, we are meek, We are edible, Nudgers and shovers In spite of ourselves.
Our kind multiplies: We shall by morning Inherit the earth.
Our foot's in the door.


by Sylvia Plath | |

Resolve

 Day of mist: day of tarnish

with hands
unserviceable, I wait
for the milk van

the one-eared cat
laps its gray paw

and the coal fire burns

outside, the little hedge leaves are
become quite yellow
a milk-film blurs
the empty bottles on the windowsill

no glory descends

two water drops poise
on the arched green
stem of my neighbor's rose bush

o bent bow of thorns

the cat unsheathes its claws
the world turns

today
today I will not
disenchant my twelve black-gowned examiners
or bunch my fist
in the wind's sneer.


by Sylvia Plath | |

The Queens Complaint

 In ruck and quibble of courtfolk
This giant hulked, I tell you, on her scene
With hands like derricks,
Looks fierce and black as rooks;
Why, all the windows broke when he stalked in.
Her dainty acres he ramped through And used her gentle doves with manners rude; I do not know What fury urged him slay Her antelope who meant him naught but good.
She spoke most chiding in his ear Till he some pity took upon her crying; Of rich attire He made her shoulders bare And solaced her, but quit her at cock's crowing.
A hundred heralds she sent out To summon in her slight all doughty men Whose force might fit Shape of her sleep, her thought- None of that greenhorn lot matched her bright crown.
So she is come to this rare pass Whereby she treks in blood through sun and squall And sings you thus : 'How sad, alas, it is To see my people shrunk so small, so small.
'


by Sylvia Plath | |

Bucolics

 Mayday: two came to field in such wise :
`A daisied mead', each said to each,
So were they one; so sought they couch,
Across barbed stile, through flocked brown cows.
`No pitchforked farmer, please,' she said; `May cockcrow guard us safe,' said he; By blackthorn thicket, flower spray They pitched their coats, come to green bed.
Below: a fen where water stood; Aslant: their hill of stinging nettle; Then, honor-bound, mute grazing cattle; Above: leaf-wraithed white air, white cloud.
All afternoon these lovers lay Until the sun turned pale from warm, Until sweet wind changed tune, blew harm : Cruel nettles stung her angles raw.
Rueful, most vexed, that tender skin Should accept so fell a wound, He stamped and cracked stalks to the ground Which had caused his dear girl pain.
Now he goes from his rightful road And, under honor, will depart; While she stands burning, venom-girt, In wait for sharper smart to fade.


by Sylvia Plath | |

Prospect

 Among orange-tile rooftops
 and chimney pots
the fen fog slips,
 gray as rats,

while on spotted branch
 of the sycamore
two black rooks hunch
 and darkly glare,

watching for night,
 with absinthe eye
cocked on the lone, late,
 passer-by.


by Sylvia Plath | |

The Bull Of Bendylaw

 The black bull bellowed before the sea.
The sea, till that day orderly, Hove up against Bendylaw.
The queen in the mulberry arbor stared Stiff as a queen on a playing card.
The king fingered his beard.
A blue sea, four horny bull-feet, A bull-snouted sea that wouldn't stay put, Bucked at the garden gate.
Along box-lined walks in the florid sun Toward the rowdy bellow and back again The lords and ladies ran.
The great bronze gate began to crack, The sea broke in at every crack, Pellmell, blueblack.
The bull surged up, the bull surged down, Not to be stayed by a daisy chain Nor by any learned man.
O the king's tidy acre is under the sea, And the royal rose in the bull's belly, And the bull on the king's highway.


by Sylvia Plath | |

Lyonnesse

 No use whistling for Lyonnesse! 
Sea-cold, sea-cold it certainly is.
Take a look at the white, high berg on his forehead- There's where it sunk.
The blue, green, Gray, indeterminate gilt Sea of his eyes washing over it And a round bubble Popping upward from the mouths of bells People and cows.
The Lyonians had always thought Heaven would be something else, But with the same faces, The same places.
.
.
It was not a shock- The clear, green, quite breathable atmosphere, Cold grits underfoot, And the spidery water-dazzle on field and street.
It never occurred that they had been forgot, That the big God Had lazily closed one eye and let them slip Over the English cliff and under so much history! They did not see him smile, Turn, like an animal, In his cage of ether, his cage of stars.
He'd had so many wars! The white gape of his mind was the real Tabula Rasa.


by Sylvia Plath | |

Conversation Among The Ruins

 Through portico of my elegant house you stalk
With your wild furies, disturbing garlands of fruit
And the fabulous lutes and peacocks, rending the net
Of all decorum which holds the whirlwind back.
Now, rich order of walls is fallen; rooks croak Above the appalling ruin; in bleak light Of your stormy eye, magic takes flight Like a daunted witch, quitting castle when real days break.
Fractured pillars frame prospects of rock; While you stand heroic in coat and tie, I sit Composed in Grecian tunic and psyche-knot, Rooted to your black look, the play turned tragic: Which such blight wrought on our bankrupt estate, What ceremony of words can patch the havoc?