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A Sonnet For
by chris Ingham
I wrote this after reading Ted Hughes' great book of
poems, Birthday Letters, which explored his
relationship with Sylvia. I have always been a fan of
hers and i found this tribute, which he wrote over a 30
year period most moving. Interestingly, he only published
the poems when he knew that he was dying.
Editor's note: This
inexpicably arrived in the submissions mailbox just as we
were discussing the sonnet as the form for our next
I read your fractured verse, your bitter pain,
Cankerously bleeding, corrupting love
Of self. Yet you saw Daddy as the bane
Who coursed the hare of despair. Rising above
The reflection in the mirror of truth,
Distorted by the fame which never came
Flying to buttress your frail, silken youth.
Despair. You sought to extinguish the flame.
But in death, ironically, poetry,
Often discarded, crumpled in the bin
Of your guilt encrusted necrolatry
Remained delicate as fine porcelain.
The bitter fame that tore your life apart
Now rises like the phoenix from your heart.
I must acknowledge that I borrowed "bitter
fame" from Anne Stevenson who used it as the title
for her biography of Sylvia Plath.
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