Lent 21: Child

I want to share two poems by Sylvia Plath, because I like the optimism in an image they both share.

One of them, I’ve actually shared before, here, but I merely linked to it elsewhere. So, now, I will reproduce both.


     Clownlike, happiest on your hands,
     Feet to the stars, and moon-skulled,
     Gilled like a fish. A common-sense
     Thumbs-down on the dodo’s mode.
     Wrapped up in yourself like a spool,
     Trawling your dark as owls do.
     Mute as a turnip from the Fourth
     Of July to All Fools’ Day,
     O high-riser, my little loaf.

     Vague as fog and looked for like mail.
     Farther off than Australia.
     Bent-backed Atlas, our traveled prawn.
     Snug as a bud and at home
     Like a sprat in a pickle jug.
     A creel of eels, all ripples.
     Jumpy as a Mexican bean.
     Right, like a well-done sum.
     A clean slate, with your own face on.

This is a prenatal poem, it’s the last line that I love, the clean slate with nothing but your face drawn on as yet. Fresh. Sparkling new with potential.

Moving neatly on the the first line here:


     Your clear eye is the one absolutely beautiful thing.
     I want to fill it with color and ducks,
     The zoo of the new

     Whose names you meditate —
     April snowdrop, Indian pipe,

     Stalk without wrinkle,
     Pool in which images
     Should be grand and classical

     Not this troublous
     Wringing of hands, this dark
     Ceiling without a star.

Your clear eye (like your clean slate) – waiting to be filled with all the joys of childhood, the ‘zoo of the new’.

I love this image. One of the best things about children (the actual best thing?) is watching them experience the world for the first time, drink it all in like a sponge, watch the change in their faces as they learn something new.

See the intro/roundup.

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