The Colossus - Sylvia Plath

The Colossus-Sylvia Plath Sylvia Plant constructed "The Colossus" out of everything she knew: literary tradition and her chosen poetic masters (Thomas and Lowell), visual art, heightened sights and sound of the natural world, the vats eerie world of her imagination and skilled craftsmanship. Which probably explains why, when an interviewer questions about The Colossus poems less than four months before her suicide, she responded: "They Infact, quite privately, bore me." In such classics as The Beekeeper's Daughter and the Disquieting Muses, she writes about sows and skeletons, fathers and suicides, about the noisy imperatives of life and the chilly hunger for death.

The Colossus, which appeared earlier in England to unusual acclaim was her fist volume to be published in America. The forty poems in The Colossus are early artifacts of genius that still posses the power to move, delight, and shock. Plath has kept alive with deep emotion and intense language. One could spend years reading this collection over and over.

The Colossus - Sylvia Plath

The Colossus


I shall never get you put together entirely,
Pieced, glued, and properly jointed.
Mule-bray, pig-grunt and bawdy cackles
Proceed from your great lips.
It's worse than a barnyard.

Perhaps you consider yourself an oracle,
Mouthpiece of the dead, or of some god or other.
Thirty years now I have labored
To dredge the silt from your throat.
I am none the wiser.

Scaling little ladders with glue pots and pails of Lysol
I crawl like an ant in mourning
Over the weedy acres of your brow
To mend the immense skull-plates and clear
The bald, white tumuli of your eyes.

A blue sky out of the Oresteia
Arches above us. O father, all by yourself
You are pithy and historical as the Roman Forum.
I open my lunch on a hill of black cypress.
Your fluted bones and acanthine hair are littered

In their old anarchy to the horizon-line.
It would take more than a lightning-stroke
To create such a ruin.
Nights, I squat in the cornucopia
Of your left ear, out of the wind,

Counting the red stars and those of plum-color.
The sun rises under the pillar of your tongue.
My hours are married to shadow.
No longer do I listen for the scrape of a keel
On the blank stones of the landing.

Sylvia Plath



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