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A Sonnet For Sylvia Plath
by chris Ingham

Chris writes:

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 contest.

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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