Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Stones

This is the city where men are mended.
I lie on a great anvil.
The flat blue sky-circle

Flew off like the hat of a doll
When I fell out of the light. I entered
The stomach of indifference, the wordless cupboard.

The mother of pestles diminished me.
I became a still pebble.
The stones of the belly were peaceable,

The head-stone quiet, jostled by nothing.
Only the mouth-hole piped out,
Importunate cricket

In a quarry of silences.
The people of the city heard it.
They hunted the stones, taciturn and separate,

The mouth-hole crying their locations.
Drunk as a foetus
I suck at the paps of darkness.

The food tubes embrace me. Sponges kiss my lichens away.
The jewelmaster drives his chisel to pry
Open one stone eye.

This is the after-hell: I see the light.
A wind unstoppers the chamber
Of the ear, old worrier.

Water mollifies the flint lip,
And daylight lays its sameness on the wall.
The grafters are cheerful,

Heating the pincers, hoisting the delicate hammers.
A current agitates the wires
Volt upon volt. Catgut stitches my fissures.

A workman walks by carrying a pink torso.
The storerooms are full of hearts.
This is the city of spare parts.

My swaddled legs and arms smell sweet as rubber.
Here they can doctor heads, or any limb.
On Fridays the little children come

To trade their hooks for hands.
Dead men leave eyes for others.
Love is the uniform of my bald nurse.

Love is the bone and sinew of my curse.
The vase, reconstructed, houses
The elusive rose.

Ten fingers shape a bowl for shadows.
My mendings itch. There is nothing to do.
I shall be good as new.

Sylvia Plath (1932-1963)


Littlestone said...

Thanks to ryaner on The Modern Antiquarian for drawing my attention to this one.

Lost Soul said...

very interesting

Littlestone said...

Yes, and strangely synchronistic in light of the following -

"The medieval historian Geoffrey of Monmouth told of a belief in the healing power of Stonehenge's stones, brought by Arthur's magician, Merlin, "from Ireland", where stones have long had magic properties. Geoffrey's stories are ridiculed, but his folk memory might contain a grain of truth. Could the appeal of the bluestones lie not in ancestor worship or astronomical ritual but in the power these objects were thought to hold back in Preseli? In his new book, Stonehenge: Biography of a Landscape, Darvill points out that the arrangement of the stones at Stonehenge even reflects their geological location back in Wales."*