APAD: Mad Girls’s Love Song, by Sylvia Plath

“I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell’s fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan’s men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you’d return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)”

 


To call myself a poet and have the Villanelle remain elusive has been devastating. I covet few forms in poetry, and this is number one on that short list. It seems the longer I fail to achieve the Villanelle, the longer I fail to achieve intensity and complexity as a poet. It’s all very sad.

Of the many composed during the form’s history, Plath’s is my favorite, and of her body of work, this piece remains my favorite. “Tulips” is a close second. I can’t read Plath too often — her words cause me to become dangerously introspective and far too sensitive. She can peel away all those protective layers I need to function in the real world. I’ll keep those layers, thank you very much.

Do you have a favorite among Sylvia Plath’s body of work? A favorite Villanelle composed by another poet? Would you like to share your own?

For the Month of the Poet, I will be sharing some of my favorite works of past and present greats. I will also take down all of my own poems shared here in the past and put up new ones as I write this month — my habit has been to share first drafts on this site. It’s time to stir up a new batch.

Feel free to join. And a happy April to you! #gowrite

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