Arts Sylvia Plath’s Juvenilia
posted by November 1 at 12:49 PMon
In her senior year of college, Sylvia Plath wrote a poem drawing on her reading of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Cervantes, Henry James, some others. It was never published. The poem was just discovered by a graduate student doing research at Indiana University, and today it was published in the online journal Blackbird.
Here’s Blackbird’s introduction to the poem.
Here is a photo of a draft of the poem.
Here is a photo of the final version of the poem.
Since it’s depressing to link to a not-very-good poem [and since Mudede will get on here and say that it only proves she wasn’t very good after all or whatever (that introduction I linked to above argues that this early poem proves how hard she worked to be the poet she was later on)] here for your reading pleasure, in honor of black birds, is a personal favorite, “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
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
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.
[Suck it, Mudede.]