‘Spinster’ by Sylvia Plath

My second post this evening is by another poetry great, Sylvia Plath. Plath is another of those poets who stops you in your tracks, often abruptly, with her words demanding emotions you were not quite prepared for. There are again a whole host of poems to choose from but I have selected ‘Spinster’ as it is one of my favourites. We begin with a girl taking a seemingly harmless, enjoyable stroll in April; it is Springtime, a time of hope and sunshine, however do not be fooled, this is Plath, and this is no ordinary tale of two lovers taking a walk in April. I hope you enjoy!


‘Spinster’ by Sylvia Plath

Now this particular girl
During a ceremonious April walk
With her latest suitor
Found herself, of a sudden, intolerably struck
By the birds’ irregular babel
And the leaves’ litter.

By this tumult afflicted, she
Observed her lover’s gestures unbalance the air,
His gait stray uneven
Through a rank wilderness of fern and flower.
She judged petals in disarray,
The whole season, sloven.

How she longed for winter then! –
Scrupulously austere in its order
Of white and black
Ice and rock, each sentiment within border,
And heart’s frosty discipline
Exact as a snowflake.

But here – a burgeoning
Unruly enough to pitch her five queenly wits
Into vulgar motley –
A treason not to be borne. Let idiots
Reel giddy in bedlam spring:
She withdrew neatly.

And round her house she set
Such a barricade of barb and check
Against mutinous weather
As no mere insurgent man could hope to break
With curse, fist, threat
Or love, either.


References:

Plath, S. (1985) ‘Spinster’ from Selected Poems. London: Faber and Faber Ltd, 4-5

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