Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Day 110: Moon & the Yew Tree


Most poems about the moon revel in its beauty, mystery and magic. It is a benevolent muse to poets.  

This poem by Sylvia Plath on the other hand, takes a different more malevolent view of it, as it plays its part in her anguished vision, 'I simply cannot see where there is to get to.' 

There are some brilliant descriptions here from Plath, typically shocking as they are apt. Moonlight is not romantic, but 'the light of the mind, cold and planetary.'  The moon is 'white as a knuckle...bald and wild' and perhaps the most moving - 'it is quiet with the complete O-gape of despair.'  Like the whole poem in a way. 

Yes, sometimes the moon just doesn't give a damn. 


 The Moon and the Yew Tree - Sylvia Plath

This is the light of the mind, cold and planetary.
The trees of the mind are black. The light is blue.
The grasses unload their griefs at my feet as if I were God,
Prickling my ankles and murmuring of their humility.
Fumy spiritious mists inhabit this place
Separated from my house by a row of headstones.
I simply cannot see where there is to get to.

The moon is no door. It is a face in its own right,

White as a knuckle and terribly upset.
It drags the sea after it like a dark crime; it is quiet
With the O-gape of complete despair. I live here.
Twice on Sunday, the bells startle the sky -
Eight great tongues affirming the Resurrection.
At the end, they soberly bong out their names.

The yew tree points up. It has a Gothic shape.

The eyes lift after it and find the moon.
The moon is my mother. She is not sweet like Mary.
Her blue garments unloose small bats and owls.
How I would like to believe in tenderness -
The face of the effigy, gentled by candles,
Bending, on me in particular, its mild eyes.

I have fallen a long way. Clouds are flowering

Blue and mystical over the face of the stars.
Inside the church, the saints will be all blue,
Floating on their delicate feet over cold pews,
Their hands and faces stiff with holiness.
The moon sees nothing of this. She is bald and wild.
And the message of the yew tree is blackness - blackness and silence.

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