Alone Again in the Lap of Luxury


‘We could make a pillow of sand and sleep’
Sand and sleep are commonly connected images. The main one is of the Sandman, who, according to legend, used to place little grains of sand in the corners of the eyes to induce sleep. That was before Neil Gaiman reinvented him though!


'You do not do anymore...'
Max Rael sent in the following: "[this quote] is taken from the fantastic and highly-recommended poet Sylvia Plath's poem Daddy. Sylvia Plath was an American poet. As a girl, she considered her father, a German instructor, to be emotionally abusive. She later married British poet (and future Poet Laureate) Ted Hughes, but found him to be disturbingly similar to her father. She committed suicide a few years after writing Daddy."

Here's the poem (with original US English spelling):


Daddy - Sylvia Plath

You do not do, you do not do
Anymore, black shoe
In which I have lived like a foot
For thirty years, poor and white,
Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.

Daddy, I have had to kill you.
You died before I had time -
Marble-heavy, a bag full of God,
Gastly statue with one grey toe
Big as a Frisco seal

And a head on the freakish Atlantic
Where it pours bean green over blue
In the waters off beautiful Nauset.
I used to pray to recover you.
Ach, du.

In the German tongue, in the Polish town
Scraped flat by the roller
Of wars, wars, wars.
But the name of the town is common.
My Polack friend

Says there are a dozen or two.
So I never could tell where you
Put your foot, your root,
I never could talk to you.
The tongue stuck in my jaw.

It stuck in a barb wire snare.
Ich, ich, ich, ich,
I could hardly speak.
I thought every German was you.
And the language obscene.
An engine, an engine
Chuffing me off like a Jew.
A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen.
I began to talk like a Jew.
I think I may well be a Jew.

The snows of the Tyrol, the clear beer of Vienna
Are not very pure or true.
With my gypsy ancestress and my wierd luck
And my Taroc pack and my Taroc pack
I may be a bit of a Jew.

I have always been scared of you,
With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo.
And your neat moustache
And your Aryan eye, bright blue.
Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You -

Not God but a swastika
So black no sky could squeak through.
Every woman adores a Fascist,
The boot in the face, the brute
Brute heart of a brute like you.

You stand at the blackboard, daddy,
In the picture I have of you,
A cleft in your chin instead of your foot
But no less a devil for that, no not
Any less the black man who

Bit my pretty red heart in two.
I was ten when they buried you.
At twenty I tried to die
And get back, back, back to you.
I thought even the bones would do.

But they pulled me out of the sack,
And they stuck me together with glue.
And they knew what to do.
I made a model of you,
A man in black with a Meinkampf look
And a love of the rack and the screw.
And I said I do, I do.
So daddy, I'm finally through.
The black telephone's off at the root,
The voices just can't worm through.

If I've killed one man, I've killed two -
The vampire who said he was you
And drank my blood for a year,
Seven years, if you want to know.
Daddy, you can lie back now.

There's a stake in your fat black heart
And the villagers never liked you.
They are dancing and stamping on you.
They always knew it was you.
Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I'm through.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comments.

All comments are moderated, so apologies if it doesn't appear right away!