One Poem at a Time -17-

Knowing what we know about Sylvia Plath, I guess you could read this as ominous, or read a lot into the homophonic double entendre of the title, but I can’t help but read it as a singular moment of joy, in a life that probably saw precious little of it.

Morning Song
from Ariel


Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.

Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival.  New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety.  We stand round blankly as walls.

I’m no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind’s hand.

All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses.  I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.

One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat’s.  The window square

Whitens and swallows its dull stars.  And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.




[Listen to an audio clip of James Merrill reading “To a Butterfly”]

1 Comment

Filed under Poetry Month 2010

One response to “One Poem at a Time -17-

  1. Julie von Zerneck

    Oh yes, of course this remarkable poet has to be included in our National Poetry Month blog!

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