December 14, 2007

Poetry Friday: Because Sylvia Plath Doesn't Make Everyone Think of Advent


Black Rook in Rainy Weather
On the stiff twig up there
Hunches a wet black rook
Arranging and rearranging its feathers in the rain.
I do not expect a miracle
Or an accident

To set the sight on fire
In my eye, nor seek
Any more in the desultory weather some design,
But let spotted leaves fall as they fall,
Without ceremony, or portent.

Although, I admit, I desire,
Occasionally, some backtalk
From the mute sky, I can't honestly complain:
A certain minor light may still
Lean incandescent

Out of kitchen table or chair
As if a celestial burning took
Possession of the most obtuse objects now and then --
Thus hallowing an interval
Otherwise inconsequent

By bestowing largesse, honor,
One might say love. At any rate, I now walk
Wary (for it could happen
Even in this dull, ruinous landscape); skeptical,
Yet politic; ignorant

Of whatever angel may choose to flare
Suddenly at my elbow. I only know that a rook
Ordering its black feathers can so shine
As to seize my senses, haul
My eyelids up, and grant

A brief respite from fear
Of total neutrality. With luck,
Trekking stubborn through this season
Of fatigue, I shall
Patch together a content

Of sorts. Miracles occur,
If you care to call those spasmodic
Tricks of radiance miracles. The wait's begun again,
The long wait for the angel,
For that rare, random descent.

- Sylvia Plath

Listen to the precise cadences as the poet reads this seasonal poem and an additional poem, titled November Graveyard. The Poetry People can be found at The Miss Rumphius Effect.

12 comments:

Cloudscome said...

"I only know that a rook
Ordering its black feathers can so shine
As to seize my senses,"

Wow! And gorgeous photo to boot! This is just the balanced poem we need for all the holiday cheer (which I am depending on to keep me upright, BTW).

Kelly Fineman said...

Listening to her read it was rather chilling - her voice hums, even as she clips her words and enunciates her Ts with precision. There's intensity to the sound of it, but no real emotion. And yet, it's extremely compelling - almost hypnotically so.

Love the poem and its imagery, and the photo you posted was perfection.

jama said...

This is haunting and unsettling and very powerful. The sheer weight of it feels like I've had a full, rich meal. Now to digest.

TadMack said...

(Kel, you're right -- listening to her is very much like listening to a cassette tape unspool -- no emotion but ...tension.)

SevenImpossible said...

Oh, YES! Love this. That last verse just slays me. Thanks, TadMack, for reminding me yet again why I love Sylvia Plath so much.

~eisha

divatobe said...

My favorite!! I still have the tattered page that I printed out when you first sent this to me.

Trekking onwards and not kicking Santa...

John Mutford said...

Her tight control seems to fight against the last two lines.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Sylvia Plath turned me brain inside out during my freshman year of college. Thanks for posting this.

By the way, I tried to watch the film made about her a few years ago. Despite the presence of Daniel Craig, I lasted only 10 minutes. Did you see it?

a. fortis said...

"A brief respite from fear
Of total neutrality."

Wow.

The Cole Mine said...

Freaky! ...and fun to read! Suits my mood today! Thanks for posting it...

SevenImpossible said...

That is a fabulous entry, and, yes, that photo is perfect for it.

Jules, 7-Imp

Mary Lee said...

I agree:

"A brief respite from fear
Of total neutrality"

WOW.