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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 | |

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 | |

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 | |

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)


More great poems below...

Written 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.


Written 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.


Written 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.


Written 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)


Written 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.


Written 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.


Written by Sylvia Plath | |

Elm

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.


Written 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.


Written by Anne Sexton | |

Sylvias Death

 for Sylvia Plath
O Sylvia, Sylvia, 
with a dead box of stones and spoons, 
with two children, two meteors 
wandering loose in a tiny playroom, 
with your mouth into the sheet, 
into the roofbeam, into the dumb prayer, 
(Sylvia, Sylvia 
where did you go 
after you wrote me 
from Devonshire 
about rasing potatoes 
and keeping bees?) 
what did you stand by, 
just how did you lie down into? 
Thief -- 
how did you crawl into, 
crawl down alone 
into the death I wanted so badly and for so long, 
the death we said we both outgrew, 
the one we wore on our skinny breasts, 
the one we talked of so often each time 
we downed three extra dry martinis in Boston, 
the death that talked of analysts and cures, 
the death that talked like brides with plots, 
the death we drank to, 
the motives and the quiet deed? 
(In Boston 
the dying 
ride in cabs, 
yes death again, 
that ride home 
with our boy.
) O Sylvia, I remember the sleepy drummer who beat on our eyes with an old story, how we wanted to let him come like a sadist or a New York fairy to do his job, a necessity, a window in a wall or a crib, and since that time he waited under our heart, our cupboard, and I see now that we store him up year after year, old suicides and I know at the news of your death a terrible taste for it, like salt, (And me, me too.
And now, Sylvia, you again with death again, that ride home with our boy.
) And I say only with my arms stretched out into that stone place, what is your death but an old belonging, a mole that fell out of one of your poems? (O friend, while the moon's bad, and the king's gone, and the queen's at her wit's end the bar fly ought to sing!) O tiny mother, you too! O funny duchess! O blonde thing!


Written by John Berryman | |

Dream Song 172: Your face broods

 Your face broods from my table, Suicide.
Your force came on like a torrent toward the end of agony and wrath.
You were christened in the beginning Sylvia Plath and changed that name for Mrs Hughes and bred and went on round the bend till the oven seemed the proper place for you.
I brood upon your face, the geography of grief, hooded, till I allow again your resignation from us now though the screams of orphaned children fix me anew.
Your torment here was brief, long falls your exit all repeatingly, a poor exemplum, one more suicide, to stack upon the others till stricken Henry with his sisters & brothers suddenly gone pauses to wonder why he alone breasts the wronging tide.


Written 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.


Written 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.