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 a 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 fact 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.
Sylvia Plath was a really interesting woman, a poet and the author of the autobiographical novel The Bell Jar (see my booklist for a description). She lived from 1932 to 1963, and was born in Massachussetts. Outwardly, she was the epitome of a bright young woman: intelligent, sensitive, compelled toward perfection, popular in school, and earned straight A's. Underneath, however, Plath's life wasn't that wonderful. She was severely depressed and tried to kill herself with sleeping pills the summer after her junior year at college. (The Bell Jar describes this experience.) In 1956 she married Ted Hughes, a fellow poet, and bore two children. Their marriage broke apart less than two years after the birth of their first child. For Plath, low on money and left with the children, life grew worse and worse each day. On February 11, 1963, Plath killed herself with cooking gas at the age of 30.