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Departure

Spidery, unsafe...

 

 By Sylvia Plath

 

Departure 

 

The figs on the fig tree in the yard are green;

Green, also, the grapes on the green vine

Shading the brickred porch tiles.

The money's run out.

 

How nature, sensing this, compounds her bitters.

Ungifted, ungrieved, our leavetaking.

The sun shines on unripe corn.

Cats play in the stalks.

 

Retrospect shall not often such penury-

Sun's brass, the moon's steely patinas,

The leaden slag of the world-

But always expose

 

The scraggy rock spit shielding the town's blue bay

Against which the brunt of outer sea

Beats, is brutal endlessly.

Gull-fouled, a stone hut

 

Bares its low lintel to corroding weathers:

Across the jut of ochreous rock

Goats shamble, morose, rank-haired,

To lick the sea-salt.

 

 

Natural History 

 

 

That lofty monarch, Monarch Mind,

Blue-blooded in coarse country reigned;

Though he bedded in ermine, gorged on roast,

Pure Philosophy his love engrossed:

While subjects hungered, empty-pursed,

With stars, with angels, he conversed

 

Till, sick of their ruler's godling airs,

In one body those earthborn commoners

Rose up and put royal nerves to the rack:

King Egg-Head saw his domain crack,

His crown usurped by the low brow

Of the base, barbarous Prince Ow.

 

 

Thalidomide 

 

 

O half moon—-

 

Half-brain, luminosity—-

Negro, masked like a white,

 

Your dark

Amputations crawl and appall—-

 

Spidery, unsafe.

What glove

 

What leatheriness

Has protected

 

Me from that shadow—-

The indelible buds.

 

Knuckles at shoulder-blades, the

Faces that

 

Shove into being, dragging

The lopped

 

Blood-caul of absences.

All night I carpenter

 

A space for the thing I am given,

A love

 

Of two wet eyes and a screech.

White spit

 

Of indifference!

The dark fruits revolve and fall.

 

The glass cracks across,

The image

 

Flees and aborts like dropped mercury.

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