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Cyndi MacMillan's Blog

About Cyndi MacMillan
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Cyndi MacMillan is a well-rounded writer who embraces many genres and forms. Her work has been published in local newspapers and has won contests. She enjoys reading literary journals, and she is actively pursuing publication within their glossy covers.

Verse is both magnetic and kinetic. She attempts - madly- to give equal attention to her poetry, short stories, and a novel-in-progress, the Trim of Wicks.  Regardless of genre, she focuses on language. One word has the power to repel or pull. She never forgets the reader and does her best to make their ride interesting.

Poetry soup is a good forum which enables people from around the world to share poetry. It has some great resources and provides a nice space for friends to meet.

Cyndi lives in a small town in Ontario with her husband, young daughter and far too many books.

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SYLVIA, A CROWN OF SONNETS, FOR CRAIG & ALL PLATH FANS


Blog Posted:4/26/2013 4:11:00 PM
              



                             

                              It is a terrible thing
                              To be so open: it is as if my heart
                              Put on a face and walked into the world.




                                               Sylvia Plath, Three Women, 1962



          _________________________________



SYLVIA

Sylvia, ever lucent, ever opaque,
an incongruity, a clever imbalance              
that spins collections her hounds facilitate. 
Failures and fractures she bravely lanced
with noncompliance. Reader, rebuff collars
labeled as forewords, smug introductions,
for Plath’s voice is tenfold more a scholar
than those receiving undue benedictions.   
Lofty beggars seek to bookend her words
and that empty space she instinctively refills
with her universe, a mayhem that girds,
unapologetic. Mirror images spill
over margins, searching for identity,
negating preamble, snubbing apathy.  


Negating preamble, snubbing apathy
with language that flickers, catches, combusts,
her volumes of wicks, her lit soliloquies,  
glint behind the stained-glass of trust.
There are those who are not really here,
they wander fault lines then crisscross chasms,
lost pilgrims who easily commandeer
unwary emotions. Some hearts just spasm,
pulled by their own nature, their delicacy,
for poetry is a weakness; poets die
between verses. Odes can become elegies.
The thin-skinned hear a snared rabbit cry,
and pray for the moonflower, always closing,
while cursing that page, unmoved and dozing.


While cursing that page, unmoved and dozing,
she corners rigid guides, keeps fingers poised,
synchronicity goes, the flow of typing
disappears, mislaid, that perfect noise
of a carriage return, a sound exclamation.
Joy is inspiration making its way home,
her Olivetti forages like a raven,
gifting found nouns, verbs that glare like chrome,
but love still flits, turns from hoarse requests,
and she longs for more than any man can give
for what snags worn ribbons will not rest,
it emits a strong beat, throbs as it loves.
Bless the bitter of life, all wisdom owing,
curse the open heart, its shadows showing.
 


Curse the open heart, its shadows showing,
for worldly delights take full advantage
of the wounded, their brokenness growing.
Everyday beauty wrings arteries, dredges
chambers with barbs, a prompt disobedient.
Fact, there’s no folder large enough to hold
elation’s girth, no ink conveniently
on hand to black out depression. So, scold
the yew, its roots and branches reaching,
then poke at petals for being complacent,
when all the while a candle is preaching
of give and take, surrender, luminance,
So, carefully archive apprehension,
revealing blue veins to tender lesions.


Revealing blue veins to tender lesions
requires much more than a room of one's own,
hours do dissolve, days lack cohesion
when milk sours and tantrums are thrown.
Solitude is in short supply, loneliness,
however, is overstocked; her mind tugs     
at busy hands for attention, such darkness
contrasts to jammy smiles and sleepy hugs.
Elusive titles whimper each morning,
and short stanzas steep, so desperately,
all the while a manuscript is scorning
her swipes at dry crumbs, cold pots of tea.
A life sheds its months, gallows take delight
as sundials atrophy in the arms of night.


As sundials atrophy in the arms of night.
the moon blanches tidepools, suckles sand,
even the face of the clock is pulled too tight
and the new calendar can not understand
that writing is sex, is fresh bread, is air,
that time is a brute, quick fisted, rough,
that weeks come and go without a care
that a marriage vow is never enough
to mend adoration, repossess bliss. 
Words make better lovers, rarely stray,
upon her lips, the impression of a kiss
feels as cold as sheets then melts away.
Paper sops afterbirth, accepts her all:
fossil and seed, shackles and free falls.



Fossil and seed, shackles and free falls,
unlocking visions, defying any cage,
art resists validity, upsets stone walls 
to scale the scarlet heights of a rampage,
to breach the barricades to euphoria.
She excavates id, bares teeth at ego,
plays the parts of illusion and phobia
then infuses rhyme with soft indigo.
Colossus begins to shrivel as Ariel
unmans him, riding hard upon metaphors,
and will remain strong, constant, ethereal.
but curtailed are epics that still implore 
like the cusp of dream long after you wake,


Sylvia, ever lucent, ever opaque.












* For Craig Cornish, whose contest inspired this piece. Thank you, Daddy-O.




About this poem

This is my first crown of sonnets. It took over 25 hours to write, a full week of me-time!

These are modern sonnets and the syllable count is extremely loose, intentionally, as it would seem odd to keep things too tight when writing of Sylvia. If anything, I regret not being even looser, altering syllable counts DRAMATICALLY. Also, I used a great deal of slant rhyme for the same reason.


I really wanted to capture Sylvia Plath with this poem, and it was a real struggle. Her language is so precise, and I wanted to do her justice. I had wanted to feel, upon its completion, that Sylvia would have said, "Well, it isn't quite horrible. Not bad for a novice. And there are parts of me there, but only the smallest bits." I do not feel I did this.  I feel like I didn't even TOUCH her mastery of language. But, it is good enough for now.. one day, who knows?

Oh, Sylvia's typewriter was a Olivetti Lettera 22. It was portable!

I wanted to post this in a blog, show the picture.

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  1. Date: 4/28/2013 1:04:00 PM
    my, cyn!!.. a tour de force from a style and substance perspective,..the enjambment between stanzas is something i haven't seen very often before and i don't want to second guess your motive for it but it works well in this piece for me ...and though this masterpiece is legnthy, it keeps the flow very smooth while allowing us breaks to gather our thoughts.... i love the experiential aspect of this!...just hoping you didn't gas yourself in the oven... woman, you are awesome!.. don't let anyone ask you to change your unique style, hmm...:) huggs!

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  1. Date: 4/28/2013 7:17:00 AM
    Yup, yup, Dee and my Crown is about the same topic but not about a specific person and I am attempting to take the reader on the ride....

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  1. Date: 4/28/2013 6:16:00 AM
    Debbie-sis and all, Funny farm, indeed! I have two more crowns simmering, and I barely had time to sleep, writing this one! I was trying to capture all the obstacles to genius-- criticism, emotion, memory, fear, regrets, relationships (both the divine ones, like mother/child, and those that inflict pain, betrayal) as well as the day to day MUCK that prevents one from writing (the fifth stanza is highly personal, too, all the scullery work that keeps one from art) and the dual nature of madness-- how it can be both a creative influence and a destructive force. I have yet to meet twenty five years a writer who has not in some way be touched by despair... some, only the tiniest sliver, others hold oceans. SOME HEARTS DO SPASM. And that convulsion often comes out as poetry, painting, dance, song, sculpture, the role in a play, even sometimes as stitch artery, as my mother did. I am a highly emotional creature, not bipolar. Currently, they use the word spectrum when speaking of autism. They say that someone does not have autism, but they are in the 'spectrum' of autism. How many poets are on the 'spectrum' of depression, bipolar, mental illness. I think a large portion. They are now saying that Plath was bipolar and this I understand, as it runs in my family. Do I celebrate her final act? Nope. As a mother, I DESPISE it. Abandoned her children, left them with questions, agonies, a lifetime of hurts. BUT.. I do understand how a poet with a thousand poems feels, longing to write, feels about dishes and diapers, the sludge of pots, the clock ticking and the poem vanishing, like mist at noon. I've been betrayed in my life, too. I can IMAGINE living in a home with little heat, alone with two young children (she'd fired the help, an unreliable young au pair), the winter that would not end, dealing with a mental disease, being given the WRONG medication--one they now know CAN magnify depression instead of helping it... so I have this compassion for Sylvia. ANd most of all I have a love for her words. oh those words, I open a poem and FALL IN. Literally, I swim in her verse. Every stage of her development. Even if she was still alive, still writing, no drama, no sensational demise, I'd feel the same about her works. But I DO question if her works would be what they are if she had been wholly intact, untainted and untouched by pain. Surely, every poet is slightly off... certainly, not like the general public.

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  1. Date: 4/27/2013 4:11:00 PM
    Ok I'm going to kill you LOL, every brain cell in my head is burning! I've almost finished verse 4 and duh! I missed a line in the first verse grrrrrrr...going to dinner, you are very naughty to get me thinking of insanity and provoking me to write a crown of sonnets YOU KNOW I can't do one as loose as you and you know I won't be able to do anything else until its done...There coming to take you away hahaa to the funny farm where there's birds and bees..

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  1. Date: 4/27/2013 6:31:00 AM
    As I mentioned earlier, this is totally awesome! I really enjoy the poem which accompanies the photo above, I see so much truth in it. It reminds me of my own personal quote(?) which says, "We are but hearts, with thought processes." You really shine brilliantly in this one, Cyndi. hugs, Catie :)

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  1. Date: 4/27/2013 5:32:00 AM
    You are absolutely amazing Cyndi, this drips with talent--must read again and again! So will be back again

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  1. Date: 4/26/2013 10:45:00 PM
    Only 25 hours? I can spend my life writing it! Excellent tribute to Sylvia. You're not only talented but prolific.

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  1. Date: 4/26/2013 7:51:00 PM
    Dearest, Cyndi backatach tomorrow, this is way too magnificent for a simple response.

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My Past Blog Posts

 
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My Poems

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9/4/2014I COMESFree versesexy,
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8/25/2014HOSTEL, QUEBEC CITY, 1978Free versehistory,places,
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4/4/2014GINGHAM AND LACE, A BLITZ POEMVersedaughter,love,
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3/24/201450 GODSFree versegod,peace,philosophy,
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3/11/2014FREEDOM BLUESTail-rhymefreedom,
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2/25/2014PITY THE PIRANHAFree verseintrospection,people,
2/13/2014DOUBLE OH, A BOND CROWN, EXAMPLE FOR CONTESTCrown of Sonnetsfilm,sexy,
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2/10/2014TARTANS, A SONNET FOR FRANCINESonnetfriend,patriotic,places,p
2/9/2014TESTIMONIALS, A SONNET FOR BRIANSonnetfaith,friend,nature,
2/5/2014ON THE FRINGE, A SONNET FOR MARLONSonnetafrica,allegory,culture,f
2/3/2014SUMMERLAND, A SONNET FOR CARRIE RICHARDSSonnetfriend,music,places,poetr
2/2/2014WORD ON THE STREET, 2009, A SONNET FOR DAVIDSonnetbooks,friend,places,poetr
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