Monday, June 13, 2005

Sylvia Plath's Morning Song

For the week of June 13, 2005, I will be using Morning Song from Ariel to trigger and discuss writing in all three Cancer Lifeline classes:

Morning Song
by Sylvia Plath

Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.

Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.

I'm no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind's hand.

All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.

One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat's. The window square

Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.

From Ariel by Sylvia Plath, published by Harper & Row, 1966. Copyright © 1966 by Ted Hughes. All rights reserved. Academy of American Poets Used by arrangement with HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.


Peter said...

Esther: Sounds like a great poem to use for triggering. Are these classes online, or do they meet in Seattle somewhere? (just curious)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Esther Altshul Helfgott said...

Hi Peter

Thanks for asking. The classes are at Cancer Lifeline, part of the Healing Arts Program. I teach two at the Greenlake site and one at Northwest Hospital. They're free and for all women, with or without cancer.

Anonymous said...

Nootka Rose
(after Sylvia Plath's morning song)

shore's white foamed lips
your cradle’s ivory gown
pinholes darkness
fine cut cloth
your morning’s cry

my breasts sway
in the room of motherhood
leak droplets of pearls
on a worn wood floor

night’s whimper
a tiny body turns
towards a new dream
a breathing of curtain
billowing lullaby

ocean’s voice is the chair I rock in

my womb still swells
forgiveness of birth

your mouth roots to my breast
I feel the moon’s blood-rhythm
waves kissing shore
again and again.

Margaret Roncone 6/2005

Anonymous said...

How lovely the imagery, vivid and expressive: "my womb still
swells forgiveness of birth."

I feel you nursing and love that the ocean's voice is yours (and the poet's) chair "in the room of motherhood."

And you send me to my garden book to look up Nootka Rose. Thank you!