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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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Written by Sylvia Plath | Create an image from this poem

Letter In November

 Love, the world
Suddenly turns, turns color.
The streetlight Splits through the rat's tail Pods of the laburnum at nine in the morning.
It is the Arctic, This little black Circle, with its tawn silk grasses - babies hair.
There is a green in the air, Soft, delectable.
It cushions me lovingly.
I am flushed and warm.
I think I may be enormous, I am so stupidly happy, My Wellingtons Squelching and squelching through the beautiful red.
This is my property.
Two times a day I pace it, sniffing The barbarous holly with its viridian Scallops, pure iron, And the wall of the odd corpses.
I love them.
I love them like history.
The apples are golden, Imagine it ---- My seventy trees Holding their gold-ruddy balls In a thick gray death-soup, Their million Gold leaves metal and breathless.
O love, O celibate.
Nobody but me Walks the waist high wet.
The irreplaceable Golds bleed and deepen, the mouths of Thermopylae.
Written by Sylvia Plath | Create an image from this poem

A Birthday Present

 What is this, behind this veil, is it ugly, is it beautiful?
It is shimmering, has it breasts, has it edges?

I am sure it is unique, I am sure it is what I want.
When I am quiet at my cooking I feel it looking, I feel it thinking 'Is this the one I am too appear for, Is this the elect one, the one with black eye-pits and a scar? Measuring the flour, cutting off the surplus, Adhering to rules, to rules, to rules.
Is this the one for the annunciation? My god, what a laugh!' But it shimmers, it does not stop, and I think it wants me.
I would not mind if it were bones, or a pearl button.
I do not want much of a present, anyway, this year.
After all I am alive only by accident.
I would have killed myself gladly that time any possible way.
Now there are these veils, shimmering like curtains, The diaphanous satins of a January window White as babies' bedding and glittering with dead breath.
O ivory! It must be a tusk there, a ghost column.
Can you not see I do not mind what it is.
Can you not give it to me? Do not be ashamed--I do not mind if it is small.
Do not be mean, I am ready for enormity.
Let us sit down to it, one on either side, admiring the gleam, The glaze, the mirrory variety of it.
Let us eat our last supper at it, like a hospital plate.
I know why you will not give it to me, You are terrified The world will go up in a shriek, and your head with it, Bossed, brazen, an antique shield, A marvel to your great-grandchildren.
Do not be afraid, it is not so.
I will only take it and go aside quietly.
You will not even hear me opening it, no paper crackle, No falling ribbons, no scream at the end.
I do not think you credit me with this discretion.
If you only knew how the veils were killing my days.
To you they are only transparencies, clear air.
But my god, the clouds are like cotton.
Armies of them.
They are carbon monoxide.
Sweetly, sweetly I breathe in, Filling my veins with invisibles, with the million Probable motes that tick the years off my life.
You are silver-suited for the occasion.
O adding machine----- Is it impossible for you to let something go and have it go whole? Must you stamp each piece purple, Must you kill what you can? There is one thing I want today, and only you can give it to me.
It stands at my window, big as the sky.
It breathes from my sheets, the cold dead center Where split lives congeal and stiffen to history.
Let it not come by the mail, finger by finger.
Let it not come by word of mouth, I should be sixty By the time the whole of it was delivered, and to numb to use it.
Only let down the veil, the veil, the veil.
If it were death I would admire the deep gravity of it, its timeless eyes.
I would know you were serious.
There would be a nobility then, there would be a birthday.
And the knife not carve, but enter Pure and clean as the cry of a baby, And the universe slide from my side.
Written by Sylvia Plath | Create an image from this poem

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.
Written by Sylvia Plath | Create an image from this poem

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.
Written by Sylvia Plath | Create an image from this poem

A Life

 Touch it: it won't shrink like an eyeball,
This egg-shaped bailiwick, clear as a tear.
Here's yesterday, last year --- Palm-spear and lily distinct as flora in the vast Windless threadwork of a tapestry.
Flick the glass with your fingernail: It will ping like a Chinese chime in the slightest air stir Though nobody in there looks up or bothers to answer.
The inhabitants are light as cork, Every one of them permanently busy.
At their feet, the sea waves bow in single file.
Never trespassing in bad temper: Stalling in midair, Short-reined, pawing like paradeground horses.
Overhead, the clouds sit tasseled and fancy As Victorian cushions.
This family Of valentine faces might please a collector: They ring true, like good china.
Elsewhere the landscape is more frank.
The light falls without letup, blindingly.
A woman is dragging her shadow in a circle About a bald hospital saucer.
It resembles the moon, or a sheet of blank paper And appears to have suffered a sort of private blitzkrieg.
She lives quietly With no attachments, like a foetus in a bottle, The obsolete house, the sea, flattened to a picture She has one too many dimensions to enter.
Grief and anger, exorcised, Leave her alone now.
The future is a grey seagull Tattling in its cat-voice of departure.
Age and terror, like nurses, attend her, And a drowned man, complaining of the great cold, Crawls up out of the sea.
Written by Sylvia Plath | Create an image from this poem

The Moon And The Yew Tree

 This is the light of the mind, cold and planetary
The trees of the mind are black.
The light is blue.
The grasses unload their griefs on my feet as if I were God Prickling my ankles and murmuring of their humility Fumy, spiritous mists inhabit this place.
Separated from my house by a row of headstones.
I simply cannot see where there is to get to.
The moon is no door.
It is a face in its own right, White as a knuckle and terribly upset.
It drags the sea after it like a dark crime; it is quiet With the O-gape of complete despair.
I live here.
Twice on Sunday, the bells startle the sky ---- Eight great tongues affirming the Resurrection At the end, they soberly bong out their names.
The yew tree points up, it has a Gothic shape.
The eyes lift after it and find the moon.
The moon is my mother.
She is not sweet like Mary.
Her blue garments unloose small bats and owls.
How I would like to believe in tenderness ---- The face of the effigy, gentled by candles, Bending, on me in particular, its mild eyes.
I have fallen a long way.
Clouds are flowering Blue and mystical over the face of the stars Inside the church, the saints will all be blue, Floating on their delicate feet over the cold pews, Their hands and faces stiff with holiness.
The moon sees nothing of this.
She is bald and wild.
And the message of the yew tree is blackness -- blackness and silence
Written by Sylvia Plath | Create an image from this poem

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)
Written by Sylvia Plath | Create an image from this poem

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)
Written by Sylvia Plath | Create an image from this poem

Leaving Early

 Lady, your room is lousy with flowers.
When you kick me out, that's what I'll remember, Me, sitting here bored as a loepard In your jungle of wine-bottle lamps, Velvet pillows the color of blood pudding And the white china flying fish from Italy.
I forget you, hearing the cut flowers Sipping their liquids from assorted pots, Pitchers and Coronation goblets Like Monday drunkards.
The milky berries Bow down, a local constellation, Toward their admirers in the tabletop: Mobs of eyeballs looking up.
Are those petals of leaves you've paried with them --- Those green-striped ovals of silver tissue? The red geraniums I know.
Friends, friends.
They stink of armpits And the invovled maladies of autumn, Musky as a lovebed the morning after.
My nostrils prickle with nostalgia.
Henna hags:cloth of your cloth.
They tow old water thick as fog.
The roses in the Toby jug Gave up the ghost last night.
High time.
Their yellow corsets were ready to split.
You snored, and I heard the petals unlatch, Tapping and ticking like nervous fingers.
You should have junked them before they died.
Daybreak discovered the bureau lid Littered with Chinese hands.
Now I'm stared at By chrysanthemums the size Of Holofernes' head, dipped in the same Magenta as this fubsy sofa.
In the mirror their doubles back them up.
Listen: your tenant mice Are rattling the cracker packets.
Fine flour Muffles their bird feet: they whistle for joy.
And you doze on, nose to the wall.
This mizzle fits me like a sad jacket.
How did we make it up to your attic? You handed me gin in a glass bud vase.
We slept like stones.
Lady, what am I doing With a lung full of dust and a tongue of wood, Knee-deep in the cold swamped by flowers?
Written by Sylvia Plath | Create an image from this poem

Love Is A Parallax

 'Perspective betrays with its dichotomy:
train tracks always meet, not here, but only
 in the impossible mind's eye;
horizons beat a retreat as we embark
on sophist seas to overtake that mark
 where wave pretends to drench real sky.
' 'Well then, if we agree, it is not odd that one man's devil is another's god or that the solar spectrum is a multitude of shaded grays; suspense on the quicksands of ambivalence is our life's whole nemesis.
So we could rave on, darling, you and I, until the stars tick out a lullaby about each cosmic pro and con; nothing changes, for all the blazing of our drastic jargon, but clock hands that move implacably from twelve to one.
We raise our arguments like sitting ducks to knock them down with logic or with luck and contradict ourselves for fun; the waitress holds our coats and we put on the raw wind like a scarf; love is a faun who insists his playmates run.
Now you, my intellectual leprechaun, would have me swallow the entire sun like an enormous oyster, down the ocean in one gulp: you say a mark of comet hara-kiri through the dark should inflame the sleeping town.
So kiss: the drunks upon the curb and dames in dubious doorways forget their monday names, caper with candles in their heads; the leaves applaud, and santa claus flies in scattering candy from a zeppelin, playing his prodigal charades.
The moon leans down to took; the tilting fish in the rare river wink and laugh; we lavish blessings right and left and cry hello, and then hello again in deaf churchyard ears until the starlit stiff graves all carol in reply.
Now kiss again: till our strict father leans to call for curtain on our thousand scenes; brazen actors mock at him, multiply pink harlequins and sing in gay ventriloquy from wing to wing while footlights flare and houselights dim.
Tell now, we taunq where black or white begins and separate the flutes from violins: the algebra of absolutes explodes in a kaleidoscope of shapes that jar, while each polemic jackanapes joins his enemies' recruits.
The paradox is that 'the play's the thing': though prima donna pouts and critic stings, there burns throughout the line of words, the cultivated act, a fierce brief fusion which dreamers call real, and realists, illusion: an insight like the flight of birds: Arrows that lacerate the sky, while knowing the secret of their ecstasy's in going; some day, moving, one will drop, and, dropping, die, to trace a wound that heals only to reopen as flesh congeals: cycling phoenix never stops.
So we shall walk barefoot on walnut shells of withered worlds, and stamp out puny hells and heavens till the spirits squeak surrender: to build our bed as high as jack's bold beanstalk; lie and love till sharp scythe hacks away our rationed days and weeks.
Then jet the blue tent topple, stars rain down, and god or void appall us till we drown in our own tears: today we start to pay the piper with each breath, yet love knows not of death nor calculus above the simple sum of heart plus heart.
Written by Sylvia Plath | Create an image from this poem

Insomniac

 The night is only a sort of carbon paper,
Blueblack, with the much-poked periods of stars
Letting in the light, peephole after peephole --
A bonewhite light, like death, behind all things.
Under the eyes of the stars and the moon's rictus He suffers his desert pillow, sleeplessness Stretching its fine, irritating sand in all directions.
Over and over the old, granular movie Exposes embarrassments--the mizzling days Of childhood and adolescence, sticky with dreams, Parental faces on tall stalks, alternately stern and tearful, A garden of buggy rose that made him cry.
His forehead is bumpy as a sack of rocks.
Memories jostle each other for face-room like obsolete film stars.
He is immune to pills: red, purple, blue -- How they lit the tedium of the protracted evening! Those sugary planets whose influence won for him A life baptized in no-life for a while, And the sweet, drugged waking of a forgetful baby.
Now the pills are worn-out and silly, like classical gods.
Their poppy-sleepy colors do him no good.
His head is a little interior of grey mirrors.
Each gesture flees immediately down an alley Of diminishing perspectives, and its significance Drains like water out the hole at the far end.
He lives without privacy in a lidless room, The bald slots of his eyes stiffened wide-open On the incessant heat-lightning flicker of situations.
Nightlong, in the granite yard, invisible cats Have been howling like women, or damaged instruments.
Already he can feel daylight, his white disease, Creeping up with her hatful of trivial repetitions.
The city is a map of cheerful twitters now, And everywhere people, eyes mica-silver and blank, Are riding to work in rows, as if recently brainwashed.
Written by Sylvia Plath | Create an image from this poem

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)
Written by Sylvia Plath | Create an image from this poem

A Better Resurrection

 I have no wit, I have no words, no tears;
My heart within me like a stone
Is numbed too much for hopes or fears;
Look right, look left, I dwell alone;
A lift mine eyes, but dimmed with grief
No everlasting hills I see;
My life is like the falling leaf;
O Jesus, quicken me.
Written by Sylvia Plath | Create an image from this poem

Tale Of A Tub

 The photographic chamber of the eye
records bare painted walls, while an electric light
lays the chromium nerves of plumbing raw;
such poverty assaults the ego; caught
naked in the merely actual room,
the stranger in the lavatory mirror
puts on a public grin, repeats our name
but scrupulously reflects the usual terror.
Just how guilty are we when the ceiling reveals no cracks that can be decoded? when washbowl maintains it has no more holy calling than physical ablution, and the towel dryly disclaims that fierce troll faces lurk in its explicit folds? or when the window, blind with steam, will not admit the dark which shrouds our prospects in ambiguous shadow? Twenty years ago, the familiar tub bred an ample batch of omens; but now water faucets spawn no danger; each crab and octopus -- scrabbling just beyond the view, waiting for some accidental break in ritual, to strike -- is definitely gone; the authentic sea denies them and will pluck fantastic flesh down to the honest bone.
We take the plunge; under water our limbs waver, faintly green, shuddering away from the genuine color of skin; can our dreams ever blur the intransigent lines which draw the shape that shuts us in? absolute fact intrudes even when the revolted eye is closed; the tub exists behind our back; its glittering surfaces are blank and true.
Yet always the ridiculous nude flanks urge the fabrication of some cloth to cover such starkness; accuracy must not stalk at large: each day demands we create our whole world over, disguising the constant horror in a coat of many-colored fictions; we mask our past in the green of Eden, pretend future's shining fruit can sprout from the navel of this present waste.
In this particular tub, two knees jut up like icebergs, while minute brown hairs rise on arms and legs in a fringe of kelp; green soap navigates the tidal slosh of seas breaking on legendary beaches; in faith we shall board our imagined ship and wildly sail among sacred islands of the mad till death shatters the fabulous stars and makes us real.
Written by Sylvia Plath | Create an image from this poem

Balloons

 Since Christmas they have lived with us,
Guileless and clear,
Oval soul-animals,
Taking up half the space,
Moving and rubbing on the silk

Invisible air drifts,
Giving a shriek and pop
When attacked, then scooting to rest, barely trembling.
Yellow cathead, blue fish ---- Such queer moons we live with Instead of dead furniture! Straw mats, white walls And these traveling Globes of thin air, red, green, Delighting The heart like wishes or free Peacocks blessing Old ground with a feather Beaten in starry metals.
Your small Brother is making His balloon squeak like a cat.
Seeming to see A funny pink world he might eat on the other side of it, He bites, Then sits Back, fat jug Contemplating a world clear as water.
A red Shred in his little fist.