Nick and the Candlestick

May 23, 2007 at 2:07 am 3 comments

Sylvia Plath

Watch (Seph Rodney read)

I am a miner. The light burns blue.
Waxy stalactites
Drip and thicken, tears

The earthen womb

Exudes from its dead boredom.
Black bat airs

Wrap me, raggy shawls,
Cold homicides.
They weld to me like plums.

Old cave of calcium
Icicles, old echoer.
Even the newts are white,

Those holy Joes.
And the fish, the fish—
Christ! They are panes of ice,

A vice of knives,
A piranha
Religion, drinking

Its first communion out of my live toes.
The candle
Gulps and recovers its small altitude,

Its yellows hearten.
O love, how did you get here?
O embryo

Remembering, even in sleep,
Your crossed position.
The blood blooms clean

In you, ruby.
The pain
You wake to is not yours.

Love, love,
I have hung our cave with roses.
With soft rugs—

The last of Victoriana.
Let the stars
Plummet to their dark address,

Let the mercuric
Atoms that cripple drip
Into the terrible well,

You are the one
Solid the spaces lean on, envious.
You are the baby in the barn.

Seph’s response to the poem is among the most eloquent and heartfelt among all the readings I found on this site. An excerpt from his commentary,

“It was a date situation, I wanted to go out with this girl, and I just ended up feeling very bad at the end of it. It didn’t work out the way I wanted it to. I just ended up feeling kind of lonely and bereft, I suppose. I came home and I opened this book, and I read some of the poems, and up until that point I think my sense of poetry was that it was always this grandiose … highfalutin, not very real way of using language. I looked at this stuff and I could not believe it … It was powerful, it was rough, it was bitter, it was caustic, it was at the same time really urgent about a need for love. I was amazed that here’s a woman who was from a very well-heeled New England existence, and the stuff that she wrote really spoke to me, a man, a Jamaican immigrant. You could hardly get two people in the world more distant in terms of social, economic, intellectual, and religious realities. But she spoke to me. She spoke to me, she spoke, it seems, directly to my life. And because of that I have always loved her work … I love this poem because it is crazy, because it is headlong, it is brutal, and it does not proceed rationally … And the last line is like this gift from the gods.”

From Robert Pinsky’s Favorite Poem Project. This was among the first sites suggested to me (thanks Ludwig), when I first started this blog.


Entry filed under: Black Mamba, English, Sylvia Plath.

After Reading a Child’s Guide to Modern Physics Reading the Brothers Grimm to Jenny

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. obiewan  |  May 23, 2007 at 2:04 pm

    I’ve been a regular visitor to your blog for few mths now and am here to say I absolutely love it. Your handpicked poems, your soulful commentary, even the range of poets u pick, make me want to come back to it every day. I’ll toast to what u guys are giving the audience here – anyday anyplace.

  • 2. obiewan  |  May 23, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    Why do you miss one of my favourite poets – James Kavannaugh? It’s a shame if he doesn’t get invited here!

  • 3. tangled  |  June 5, 2008 at 12:06 am

    I think the link is broken…


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