(wwl) the Manor Garden

September 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

Sylvia Plath (1959)

The fountains are dry and the roses over.
Incense of death. Your day approaches.
The pears fatten like little buddhas.
A blue mist is dragging the lake.

You move through the era of fishes,
The smug centuries of the pig-
Head, toe and finger
Come clear the shadows. History

Norishes these broken flutings,
These crowns of acanthus,
And the crow settles her garments.
You inherit white heather, a bee’s wing,

Two suicides, the family wolves,
Hours of blankness. Some hard stars
Already yellow the heavens.
The spider on its own string

Crosses the lake. The worms
Quit their usual habitations.
The small birds converge, converge
With their gifts to a difficult borning.

This poem is among my favourites. I am a worshipper of Sylvia Plath, but this one particularly strikes me for its imagery of the haunted manor and the haunted garden. The dead are buried in this garden and from them spring morbid flowers. Happiness that once was is now displaced.

Remember T. S. Eliot’s That corpse you planted last year in your garden,/Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?/Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?

What is alive and what is dead? Or is it possible that we be both at the same instant…


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