Posts Tagged ‘in good company’

Sylvia Plath was born in the 1930s, and enjoyed much success as a poet from a very young age. However, she has been said to have suffered from depression, anxiety disorders, and possibly even bipolar disorder. She was hospitalized for a ‘nervous breakdown’ (a suicide attempt) and was given shock therapy. However, this did little to help her.

At the age of 33, Sylvia Plath committed suicide by sticking her head in a gas oven. She first sealed the kitchen off with wet towels so that her sleeping children would not be affected by the gas. She was found by her au pair with her head in the oven.

In the following – rather graphic – poem, she talks about the beauty of pain. Could she have been a cutter?


By Sylvia Plath

For Susan O’Neill Roe

What a thrill —
My thumb instead of an onion.
The top quite gone
Except for a sort of a hinge

Of skin,
A flap like a hat,
Dead white.
Then that red plush.

Little pilgrim,
The Indian’s axed your scalp.
Your turkey wattle
Carpet rolls

Straight from the heart.
I step on it,
Clutching my bottle
Of pink fizz.

A celebration, this is.
Out of a gap
A million soldiers run,
Redcoats, every one.

Whose side are they on?
O my
Homunculus, I am ill.
I have taken a pill to kill

The thin
Papery feeling.
Kamikaze man —

The stain on your
Gauze Ku Klux Klan
Darkens and tarnishes and when

The balled
Pulp of your heart
Confronts its small
Mill of silence

How you jump —
Trepanned veteran,
Dirty girl,
Thumb stump.


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