Tuesday, May 01, 2018

NaPoWriMo Day 29: Cypress

Prompt: Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem based on the Plath Poetry Project’s calendar. Simply pick a poem from the calendar, and then write a poem that responds or engages with your chosen Plath poem in some way.

Sylvia Plath must be laughing at me right now; I'd only just responded to 'Lady Lazarus' on Day 27, and now whee, I get to do it again! I picked 'Elm' for my poem this time, and used one of her phrases ('Diminished and flat') as well as allusions to some of her imagery for a more concrete link.

Like Plath herself, I've struggled with depression for a while, so 'Elm' was particularly resonant. The response, if it's a response at all, came in images linked in bizarre ways, so I just wrote everything down without pausing to analyze where it all came from. I still don't know. 


Root. Tap root.
Tap tap tap, goes the root, deep dark thing
Plunging beneath light’s reach, snaking down

The original crooked man’s crooked mile
Sucking up blackness and brimstone, fire
Burning slow in the veins.

I am a spider’s web of filament fronds
Transporting blood through the world’s most complex
Delivery circuit, each blood cell containing a tiny

Fragment of hell.
Filament sunsets red as heated wires.
The moon is a great white murder eye

Pitilessly watching. Diminished and flat
I am clubbed to pieces, a skinned fur seal
Doll-broken on the floor.

Shhhh. Don’t speak.
The littlest shriek
Brings down the wrath of God.


Angela said...

Powerful poem!

Shuku said...

Thank you Angela! It was another hard one; had to sort of write and type bits of it through the day, in between work and rehearsals. The more I read Sylvia Plath, the more appreciative I am of her skills!