Monday, August 08, 2005

Lady Lazarus by Sylvia Plath

I have done it again.

One year in every ten

I manage it--



A sort of walking miracle, my skin

Bright as a Nazi lampshade,

My right foot



A paperweight,

My face featureless, fine

Jew linen.



Peel off the napkin

O my enemy.

Do I terrify?--



The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth?

The sour breath

Will vanish in a day.



Soon, soon the flesh

The grave cave ate will be

At home on me



And I a smiling woman.

I am only thirty.

And like the cat I have nine times to die.



This is Number Three.

What a trash

To annihilate each decade.



What a million filaments.

The peanut-crunching crowd

Shoves in to see



Them unwrap me hand and foot--

The big strip tease.

Gentlemen, ladies



These are my hands

My knees.

I may be skin and bone,



Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman.

The first time it happened I was ten.

It was an accident.



The second time I meant

To last it out and not come back at all.

I rocked shut



As a seashell.

They had to call and call

And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.



Dying

Is an art, like everything else.

I do it exceptionally well.



I do it so it feels like hell.

I do it so it feels real.

I guess you could say I've a call.



It's easy enough to do it in a cell.

It's easy enough to do it and stay put.

It's the theatrical



Comeback in broad day

To the same place, the same face, the same brute

Amused shout:



'A miracle!'

That knocks me out.

There is a charge



For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge

For the hearing of my heart--

It really goes.



And there is a charge, a very large charge

For a word or a touch

Or a bit of blood



Or a piece of my hair or my clothes.

So, so, Herr Doktor.

So, Herr Enemy.



I am your opus,

I am your valuable,

The pure gold baby



That melts to a shriek.

I turn and burn.

Do not think I underestimate your great concern.



Ash, ash--

You poke and stir.

Flesh, bone, there is nothing there--



A cake of soap,

A wedding ring,

A gold filling.



Herr god, Herr Lucifer

Beware

Beware.



Out of the ash

I rise with my red hair

And I eat men like air.


23-29 October 1962

2 comments:

Semperviva said...

HEY!!! you and Holly should discuss this- Holly memorized this poem for a dramatic speech team thing-!!!! [philosophicaldollhouse.blogspot.com]

innommable said...

Holly... hmmm... ok... I'll check it out....

Thanks j.a.o.g.!