The Collected Poems Quotes

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The Collected Poems The Collected Poems by Sylvia Plath
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The Collected Poems Quotes Showing 1-30 of 71
“I lean to you, numb as a fossil. Tell me I'm here.”
Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems
“Eternity bores me,
I never wanted it.

From the poem "Years", 16 November 1962”
Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems
“I am terrified by this dark thing that sleeps in me.”
Sylvia Plath , The Collected Poems
“I?
I walk alone;
The midnight street
Spins itself from under my feet;
My eyes shut
These dreaming houses all snuff out;
Through a whim of mine
Over gables the moon's celestial onion
Hangs high.

I
Make houses shrink
And trees diminish
By going far; my look's leash
Dangles the puppet-people
Who, unaware how they dwindle,
Laugh, kiss, get drunk,
Nor guess that if I choose to blink
They die.

I
When in good humour,
Give grass its green
Blazon sky blue, and endow the sun
With gold;
Yet, in my wintriest moods, I hold
Absolute power
To boycott color and forbid any flower
To be.

I
Know you appear
Vivid at my side,
Denying you sprang out of my head,
Claiming you feel
Love fiery enough to prove flesh real,
Though it's quite clear
All your beauty, all your wit, is a gift, my dear,
From me.

"Soliloquy of the Solipsist", 1956”
Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems
“I am terrified by this dark thing
That sleeps in me;
All day I feel its soft, feathery turnings, its malignity.

Clouds pass and disperse.
Are those the faces of love, those pale irretrievables?
Is it for such I agitate my heart?

I am incapable of more knowledge.
What is this, this face
So murderous in its strangle of branches? -

Its snaky acids kiss.
It petrifies the will. These are the isolate, slow faults
That kill, that kill, that kill.

From the poem "Elm", 19 April 1962”
Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems
“What did my fingers do before they held him?
What did my heart do, with its love?

From " Three Women: A Poem for Three Voices", 1962”
Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems
“I Am Vertical

But I would rather be horizontal.
I am not a tree with my root in the soil
Sucking up minerals and motherly love
So that each March I may gleam into leaf,
Nor am I the beauty of a garden bed
Attracting my share of Ahs and spectacularly painted,
Unknowing I must soon unpetal.
Compared with me, a tree is immortal
And a flower-head not tall, but more startling,
And I want the one's longevity and the other's daring.

Tonight, in the infinitesimal light of the stars,
The trees and flowers have been strewing their cool odors.
I walk among them, but none of them are noticing.
Sometimes I think that when I am sleeping
I must most perfectly resemble them--
Thoughts gone dim.
It is more natural to me, lying down.
Then the sky and I are in open conversation,
And I shall be useful when I lie down finally:
The the trees may touch me for once, and the flowers have time for me.

"I Am Vertical", 28 March 1961”
Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems
“I am too pure for you or anyone.

From the poem "Fever 103°", 20 October 1962”
Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems
“I have stitched life into me like a rare organ

--from "Three Women: A Poem for Three Voices", written 1962”
Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems
“Backward we traveled to reclaim the day
Before we fell, like Icarus, undone;
All we find are altars in decay
And profane words scrawled black across the sun.

--From the poem "Doom of the Exiles", written 16 April 1954”
Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems
“Mother of otherness,
Eat me.
--from "Poem for a Birthday - Who", written 1960”
Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems
“Mirror

I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful-
The eye of the little god, four cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.
Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.

--written 1960”
Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems
“If you pluck out my heart
To find what makes it move,
You’ll halt the clock
That syncopates our love.”
Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems
“Elm

BY SYLVIA PLATH

I know the bottom, she says. I know it with my great tap root:
It is what you fear.
I do not fear it: I have been there.

Is it the sea you hear in me,
Its dissatisfactions?
Or the voice of nothing, that was your madness?

Love is a shadow.
How you lie and cry after it
Listen: these are its hooves: it has gone off, like a horse.

All night I shall gallop thus, impetuously,
Till your head is a stone, your pillow a little turf,
Echoing, echoing.

Or shall I bring you the sound of poisons?
This is rain now, this big hush.
And this is the fruit of it: tin-white, like arsenic.

I have suffered the atrocity of sunsets.
Scorched to the root
My red filaments burn and stand, a hand of wires.

Now I break up in pieces that fly about like clubs.
A wind of such violence
Will tolerate no bystanding: I must shriek.

The moon, also, is merciless: she would drag me
Cruelly, being barren.
Her radiance scathes me. Or perhaps I have caught her.

I let her go. I let her go
Diminished and flat, as after radical surgery.
How your bad dreams possess and endow me.

I am inhabited by a cry.
Nightly it flaps out
Looking, with its hooks, for something to love.

I am terrified by this dark thing
That sleeps in me;
All day I feel its soft, feathery turnings, its malignity.

Clouds pass and disperse.
Are those the faces of love, those pale irretrievables?
Is it for such I agitate my heart?

I am incapable of more knowledge.
What is this, this face
So murderous in its strangle of branches?——

Its snaky acids kiss.
It petrifies the will. These are the isolate, slow faults
That kill, that kill, that kill.”
Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems
“Stars open among the lilies.
Are you not blinded by such expressionless sirens?
This is the silence of astounded souls.

--from "Crossing the Water", written 1962”
Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems
“In Plaster

I shall never get out of this! There are two of me now:
This new absolutely white person and the old yellow one,
And the white person is certainly the superior one.
She doesn't need food, she is one of the real saints.

At the beginning I hated her, she had no personality --
She lay in bed with me like a dead body

And I was scared, because she was shaped just the way I was 


Only much whiter and unbreakable and with no complaints.
I couldn't sleep for a week, she was so cold.
I blamed her for everything, but she didn't answer.

I couldn't understand her stupid behavior!

When I hit her she held still, like a true pacifist.

Then I realized what she wanted was for me to love her:
She began to warm up, and I saw her advantages.



Without me, she wouldn't exist, so of course she was grateful.

I gave her a soul, I bloomed out of her as a rose

Blooms out of a vase of not very valuable porcelain,
And it was I who attracted everybody's attention,

Not her whiteness and beauty, as I had at first supposed.

I patronized her a little, and she lapped it up --

You could tell almost at once she had a slave mentality.



I didn't mind her waiting on me, and she adored it.

In the morning she woke me early, reflecting the sun

From her amazingly white torso, and I couldn't help but notice

Her tidiness and her calmness and her patience:
She humored my weakness like the best of nurses,

Holding my bones in place so they would mend properly.
In time our relationship grew more intense.



She stopped fitting me so closely and seemed offish.

I felt her criticizing me in spite of herself,

As if my habits offended her in some way.
She let in the drafts and became more and more absent-minded.

And my skin itched and flaked away in soft pieces

Simply because she looked after me so badly.
Then I saw what the trouble was: she thought she was immortal.

She wanted to leave me, she thought she was superior,

And I'd been keeping her in the dark, and she was resentful --
Wasting her days waiting on a half-corpse!

And secretly she began to hope I'd die.
Then she could cover my mouth and eyes, cover me entirely,

And wear my painted face the way a mummy-case
Wears the face of a pharaoh, though it's made of mud and water.



I wasn't in any position to get rid of her.
She'd supported me for so long I was quite limp --
I had forgotten how to walk or sit,
So I was careful not to upset her in any way

Or brag ahead of time how I'd avenge myself.
Living with her was like living with my own coffin:
Yet I still depended on her, though I did it regretfully.

I used to think we might make a go of it together --

After all, it was a kind of marriage, being so close.

Now I see it must be one or the other of us.
She may be a saint, and I may be ugly and hairy,

But she'll soon find out that that doesn't matter a bit.
I'm collecting my strength; one day I shall manage without her,

And she'll perish with emptiness then, and begin to miss me.

--written 26 Feburary 1961”
Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems
“we shall board our imagined ship and wildly sail
among sacred islands of the mad till death
shatters the fabulous stars and makes us real.

--from "Tale of A Tub", written 1956”
Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems
“I hurl my heart to halt his pace.

--from "Pursuit", written 1956”
Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems
“The night sky is only a sort of carbon paper,
Blueblack, with the much-poked periods of stars
Letting in the light, peephole after peephole---
A bonewhite light, like death, behind all things.”
Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems
“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.

--From the poem Lady Lazarus”
Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems
“I didn’t want any flowers, I only wanted
To lie with my hands turned up and be utterly empty.
How free it is, you have no idea how free——
The peacefulness is so big it dazes you,
And it asks nothing, a name tag, a few trinkets.
It is what the dead close on, finally; I imagine them
Shutting their mouths on it, like a Communion tablet.”
Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems
“Not easy to state the change you made.
If I'm alive now, I was dead,
Though, like a stone, unbothered by it.”
Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems
“Perfection is terrible, it cannot have children.”
Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems
“Wind warns November’s done with. The blown leaves make bat-shapes, Web-winged and furious.”
Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems
“Worse even
than your maddening
song, your silence." -”
Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems
“Although, I admit, I desire,
Occasionally, some backtalk
From the mute sky, I can't honestly complain:
A certain minor light may still
Lean incandescent

Out of kitchen table or chair
As if a celestial burning took
Possession of the most obtuse objects now and then -- ”
Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems
tags: faith
“I am made, crudely, for success.”
Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems
“I am your opus.”
Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems
“In this particular tub, two knees jut up
like icebergs, while minute brown hairs rise
on arms and legs in a fringe of kelp; green soap
navigates the tidal slosh of seas
breaking on legendary beaches; in faith
we shall board our imagined ship and wildly sail
among sacred islands of the mad till death
shatters the fabulous stars and makes us real.”
Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems
“If you dissect a bird / to diagram the tongue, / you'll cut the chord / articulating song.”
Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems

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