Evening Song

Here legs run and their humans
A pack of females, entangled
But they laugh, they joke
There are rivalries.

That’s okay, that’s not the worst
By any means. The field is clear.

Across the way small brown birds
Forage for worms, for shoots
And all the while the sun slides
In and out of haze and clouds

And thin sheets of light glint
From many soft lenses.

Sylvia, nature,
It’s not the lack of inner life
This simple celebration.
It’s simple, but not only simple.

You can keep honey hives, you can.
But certain bees can clump and sting whenever.

Sylvia Plath’s “Prospero Shows Ariel How to Open a Hellgate”

PROSPERO: We make new stock from the salt.

Let the mercuric
of a rose close when the garden
shadows.

For a minute the sky pours into the hole like
a paperweight…

Ariel, staring from her hood of bone
she is used to this sort of thing.

Then…
In a pit of rock
curve of water upleaping
old barnacled umbilicus, atlantic cable
starless and fatherless, a dark water.
Red stigmata at the very centre,
like a sprat in a pickle jug:

The tongues of hell
keeping, it seems, in a state of miraculous repair
then the substanceless blue
the dew that flies

Riding the rip tide to the nearest point of departure
Into the terrible well itself.

PROSPERO: Nevertheless, nevertheless
The tinder cries…
Pitcher of mik, now empty…

And a naked mouth, red and awkward
fat and red, a placenta.

Into the red
touching and sucking…
pushing by like hearts…
dead hands, dead stringencies…
Thigh, hair…
Eyes rolled by white sticks…
Naked as paper, to start…

From the sweet, deep throats of the night flower,
remembering, even in sleep;
stasis in darkness;
pour of tor and distances;
cold homicides…

ARIEL: Christ! they are panes of ice…

PROSPERO: Empty? Empty. Here is a hand.

ARIEL: The earthen womb…

PROSPERO: Believe me, they’ll bury you in it.

Her bare
body wears the smile of accomplishment.

Poems About Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath

Ted guessed
By the blue-black sheen of the bookmark

Knew,
when, on the 49th page
Three days before the writing stopped
The entries began to more and more
Resemble claws and talons
Scruffily dipped in ink
And smeared across the paper
Making a real mess
That he had to burn it
What else could he do?
Then went to lie down
Face down
In his face upwards body

***

Ted caught a Sylvia
Oh what a fish
He kept it close, and they lived
Happily as man and fish live.
After a while, he let the fish alone, she bit
Besides, you know what they say about fish.

When someone put Sylvia in the oven he cried
Why should fish have to die like this?
Rather than swim glinting in the thunderous foam
Scattering scales, each part of the water’s poem.

From time to time, and when life
was nearly through
Ted tried a little smoked Sylvia.
His taste buds were suited to her
As a fly is suited to a fish –

Now they swim together,
Amongst the many pages, they swim.
And we thread new lines to catch them.

***

Who killed Sylvia?
Aurelia killed her. Make no mistake.
She knew just what she was doing.
She lit the fuse
And bundled her into a white heat
pressure, pressure of a skull forge
Of an american all-girl third degree
burn to the brain.

After that her skin flaked slowly
Small stanzas of skin
The scar-tissue exposed would sting
and then burn and numb again.

And when the fire achieved her core
She climbed into the oven
To finally feel at home.