I feel that there is always something dark and sinister looming over the poems of Sylvia Plath. Sure, her personal story, ending in suicide, hangs heavy.
But, take this poem pictured above, “The Manor Garden.” From the title, one could simply expect a piece about a garden, perhaps succumbing to fall. But the nature imagery isn’t clear about what season it is. Things are dying but there is also a bee abuzz.
Finally, it becomes apparent that something larger is coming, something waiting to be born, bringing with it all sorts of fears. A baby, for example, could do just that.
In case anyone is wondering, the ferris wheel behind the picture to the right is the Singapore Eye, which in real life is gigantic.
The Manor GardenThe fountains are dry and the roses over.
Incense of death. Your day approaches.
The pears fatten like little buddhas.
A blue mist is dragging the lake.
You move through the era of fishes,
The smug centuries of the pig-
Head, toe and finger
Come clear of the shadow. History
Nourishes these broken flutings,
These crowns of acanthus,
And the crow settles her garments.
You inherit white heather, a bee’s wing,
Two suicides, the family wolves,
Hours of blankness. Some hard stars
Already yellow the heavens.
The spider on its own string
Crosses the lake. The worms
Quit their usual habitations.
The small birds converge, converge
With their gifts to a difficult borning.
Read Singapore 2014