Sunday, December 04, 2005


The woman is perfected.
Her dead

Body wears the smile of accomplishment,
The illusion of a Greek necessity

Flows in the scrolls of her toga,
Her bare

Feet seem to be saying:
WE have come so far, it is over.

Each dead child coiled, a white serpent,
One at each little

Pitcher of milk, now empty.
She has folded

Them back onto her body as petals
Of a rose close when the garden

Stiffens and odors bleed
From the sweet, deep throats of the night flower.

The moon has nothing to be sad about,
Staring from her hood of bone.

She is used to this sort of thing.
Her blacks crackle and drag.
-Sylvia Plath

This poem has many morbid images, but I do not think that is unusual of Plath. There are images of a dead woman, dead children, and emptiness. I do not understand, but it says in the poem that the woman is perfected after she is dead. Perhaps Plath is talking about the state of her body in her peaceful state. It seems like whatever the woman was trying to do, she accomplished it and so now she is at peace.
The image of a dead child looking like a white serpent is hard to swallow, but I suppose if they are dead, their skin would turn shades to a white tone which would explain the imagery. The last two stanzas are detached from the poem, in that the topic is completely changed. The poem explains about the moon and how it has nothing to be sad about. This poses an interesting question, I interpreted it as someone who is completely detached from the situation would feel no sadness about the events that progressed. On a larger scale, this could be people in the U.S. who see the state of third world countries, but are so far away that they do nothing.


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