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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 |

Daddy

You do not do, you do not do
Any more, black shoe
In which I have lived like a foot
For thirty years, poor and white,
Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.
Daddy, I have had to kill you.
You died before I had time--- Marble-heavy, a bag full of God, Ghastly statue with one gray toe Big as a Frisco seal And a head in the freakish Atlantic Where it pours bean green over blue In the waters off the beautiful Nauset.
I used to pray to recover you.
Ach, du.
In the German tongue, in the Polish town Scraped flat by the roller Of wars, wars, wars.
But the name of the town is common.
My Polack friend Says there are a dozen or two.
So I never could tell where you Put your foot, your root, I never could talk to you.
The tongue stuck in my jaw.
It stuck in a barb wire snare.
Ich, ich, ich, ich, I could hardly speak.
I thought every German was you.
And the language obscene An engine, an engine, Chuffing me off like a Jew.
A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen.
I began to talk like a Jew.
I think I may well be a Jew.
The snows of the Tyrol, the clear beer of Vienna Are not very pure or true.
With my gypsy ancestress and my weird luck And my Taroc pack and my Taroc pack I may be a bit of a Jew.
I have always been sacred of you, With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo.
And your neat mustache And your Aryan eye, bright blue.
Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You---- Not God but a swastika So black no sky could squeak through.
Every woman adores a Fascist, The boot in the face, the brute Brute heart of a brute like you.
You stand at the blackboard, daddy, In the picture I have of you, A cleft in your chin instead of your foot But no less a devil for that, no not Any less the black man who Bit my pretty red heart in two.
I was ten when they buried you.
At twenty I tried to die And get back, back, back to you.
I thought even the bones would do.
But they pulled me out of the sack, And they stuck me together with glue.
And then I knew what to do.
I made a model of you, A man in black with a Meinkampf look And a love of the rack and the screw.
And I said I do, I do.
So daddy, I'm finally through.
The black telephone's off at the root, The voices just can't worm through.
If I've killed one man, I've killed two--- The vampire who said he was you And drank my blood for a year, Seven years, if you want to know.
Daddy, you can lie back now.
There's a stake in your fat black heart And the villagers never liked you.
They are dancing and stamping on you.
They always knew it was you.
Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I'm through.
(1962)


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 |

Berck-Plage

(1)

This is the sea, then, this great abeyance.
How the sun's poultice draws on my inflammation.
Electrifyingly-colored sherbets, scooped from the freeze By pale girls, travel the air in scorched hands.
Why is it so quiet, what are they hiding? I have two legs, and I move smilingly.
.
A sandy damper kills the vibrations; It stretches for miles, the shrunk voices Waving and crutchless, half their old size.
The lines of the eye, scalded by these bald surfaces, Boomerang like anchored elastics, hurting the owner.
Is it any wonder he puts on dark glasses? Is it any wonder he affects a black cassock? Here he comes now, among the mackerel gatherers Who wall up their backs against him.
They are handling the black and green lozenges like the parts of a body.
The sea, that crystallized these, Creeps away, many-snaked, with a long hiss of distress.
(2) This black boot has no mercy for anybody.
Why should it, it is the hearse of a dad foot, The high, dead, toeless foot of this priest Who plumbs the well of his book, The bent print bulging before him like scenery.
Obscene bikinis hid in the dunes, Breasts and hips a confectioner's sugar Of little crystals, titillating the light, While a green pool opens its eye, Sick with what it has swallowed---- Limbs, images, shrieks.
Behind the concrete bunkers Two lovers unstick themselves.
O white sea-crockery, What cupped sighs, what salt in the throat.
.
.
.
And the onlooker, trembling, Drawn like a long material Through a still virulence, And a weed, hairy as privates.
(3) On the balconies of the hotel, things are glittering.
Things, things---- Tubular steel wheelchairs, aluminum crutches.
Such salt-sweetness.
Why should I walk Beyond the breakwater, spotty with barnacles? I am not a nurse, white and attendant, I am not a smile.
These children are after something, with hooks and cries, And my heart too small to bandage their terrible faults.
This is the side of a man: his red ribs, The nerves bursting like trees, and this is the surgeon: One mirrory eye---- A facet of knowledge.
On a striped mattress in one room An old man is vanishing.
There is no help in his weeping wife.
Where are the eye-stones, yellow and vvaluable, And the tongue, sapphire of ash.
(4) A wedding-cake face in a paper frill.
How superior he is now.
It is like possessing a saint.
The nurses in their wing-caps are no longer so beautiful; They are browning, like touched gardenias.
The bed is rolled from the wall.
This is what it is to be complete.
It is horrible.
Is he wearing pajamas or an evening suit Under the glued sheet from which his powdery beak Rises so whitely unbuffeted? They propped his jaw with a book until it stiffened And folded his hands, that were shaking: goodbye, goodbye.
Now the washed sheets fly in the sun, The pillow cases are sweetening.
It is a blessing, it is a blessing: The long coffin of soap-colored oak, The curious bearers and the raw date Engraving itself in silver with marvelous calm.
(5) The gray sky lowers, the hills like a green sea Run fold upon fold far off, concealing their hollows, The hollows in which rock the thoughts of the wife---- Blunt, practical boats Full of dresses and hats and china and married daughters.
In the parlor of the stone house One curtain is flickering from the open window, Flickering and pouring, a pitiful candle.
This is the tongue of the dead man: remember, remember.
How far he is now, his actions Around him like livingroom furniture, like a décor.
As the pallors gather---- The pallors of hands and neighborly faces, The elate pallors of flying iris.
They are flying off into nothing: remember us.
The empty benches of memory look over stones, Marble facades with blue veins, and jelly-glassfuls of daffodils.
It is so beautiful up here: it is a stopping place.
(6) The natural fatness of these lime leaves!---- Pollarded green balls, the trees march to church.
The voice of the priest, in thin air, Meets the corpse at the gate, Addressing it, while the hills roll the notes of the dead bell; A glittler of wheat and crude earth.
What is the name of that color?---- Old blood of caked walls the sun heals, Old blood of limb stumps, burnt hearts.
The widow with her black pocketbook and three daughters, Necessary among the flowers, Enfolds her lace like fine linen, Not to be spread again.
While a sky, wormy with put-by smiles, Passes cloud after cloud.
And the bride flowers expend a fershness, And the soul is a bride In a still place, and the groom is red and forgetful, he is featureless.
(7) Behind the glass of this car The world purrs, shut-off and gentle.
And I am dark-suited and stil, a member of the party, Gliding up in low gear behind the cart.
And the priest is a vessel, A tarred fabric,sorry and dull, Following the coffin on its flowery cart like a beautiful woman, A crest of breasts, eyelids and lips Storming the hilltop.
Then, from the barred yard, the children Smell the melt of shoe-blacking, Their faces turning, wordless and slow, Their eyes opening On a wonderful thing---- Six round black hats in the grass and a lozenge of wood, And a naked mouth, red and awkward.
For a minute the sky pours into the hole like plasma.
There is no hope, it is given up.


by Sylvia Plath |

Lady Lazarus

I have done it again.
One year in every ten I manage it_____ A sort of walking miracle, my skin Bright as a Nazi lampshade, My right foot A paperweight, My face featureless, fine Jew linen.
Peel off the napkin O my enemy.
Do I terrify?------- The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth? The sour breath Will vanish in a day.
Soon, soon the flesh The grave cave ate will be At home on me And I a smiling woman.
I am only thirty.
And like the cat I have nine times to die.
This is Number Three.
What a trash To annihilate each decade.
What a million filaments.
The Peanut-crunching crowd Shoves in to see Them unwrap me hand in foot ------ The big strip tease.
Gentleman , ladies These are my hands My knees.
I may be skin and bone, Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman.
The first time it happened I was ten.
It was an accident.
The second time I meant To last it out and not come back at all.
I rocked shut As a seashell.
They had to call and call And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.
Dying Is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.
I do it so it feels like hell.
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I've a call.
It's easy enough to do it in a cell.
It's easy enough to do it and stay put.
It's the theatrical Comeback in broad day To the same place, the same face, the same brute Amused shout: 'A miracle!' That knocks me out.
There is a charge For the eyeing my scars, there is a charge For the hearing of my heart--- It really goes.
And there is a charge, a very large charge For a word or a touch Or a bit of blood Or a piece of my hair on my clothes.
So, so, Herr Doktor.
So, Herr Enemy.
I am your opus, I am your valuable, The pure gold baby That melts to a shriek.
I turn and burn.
Do not think I underestimate your great concern.
Ash, ash--- You poke and stir.
Flesh, bone, there is nothing there---- A cake of soap, A wedding ring, A gold filling.
Herr God, Herr Lucifer Beware Beware.
Out of the ash I rise with my red hair And I eat men like air.
(1962)


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 |

The Arrival of the Bee Box

I ordered this, clean wood box 
Square as a chair and almost too heavy to lift.
I would say it was the coffin of a midget Or a square baby Were there not such a din in it.
The box is locked, it is dangerous.
I have to live with it overnight And I can't keep away from it.
There are no windows, so I can't see what is in there.
There is only a little grid, no exit.
I put my eye to the grid.
It is dark, dark, With the swarmy feeling of African hands Minute and shrunk for export, Black on black, angrily clambering.
How can I let them out? It is the noise that appalls me most of all, The unintelligible syllables.
It is like a Roman mob, Small, taken one by one, but my god, together! I lay my ear to furious Latin.
I am not a Caesar.
I have simply ordered a box of maniacs.
They can be sent back.
They can die, I need feed them nothing, I am the owner.
I wonder how hungry they are.
I wonder if they would forget me If I just undid the locks and stood back and turned into a tree.
There is the laburnum, its blond colonnades, And the petticoats of the cherry.
They might ignore me immediately In my moon suit and funeral veil.
I am no source of honey So why should they turn on me? Tomorrow I will be sweet God, I will set them free.
The box is only temporary.