Get Your Premium Membership

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.

Poem by Sylvia Plath
Biography | Poems | Best Poems | Short Poems | Quotes | Email Poem - Tale Of A TubEmail Poem | Create an image from this poem

Poems are below...



More Poems by Sylvia Plath

Comments, Analysis, and Meaning on Tale Of A Tub

Provide your analysis, explanation, meaning, interpretation, and comments on the poem Tale Of A Tub here.

Commenting turned off, sorry.