The Sylvia Plath Forum

Poems inspired by Sylvia Plath


Muse from the Dead

Sylvia, muse from the dead,
Your haunting voice seeps through
Soggy English soil, creeps into the dank

And dismal crevices of my mind,
Echoing a shrill cry that shatters
Old worlds in a glorious fury.

I sit each night, soul-shaken, cold
And naked, cast back into childhood
By your harrowing verse, face to mud,

Exhuming each of the little bodies I had
Quietly buried in the forgotten corners of
Childhood ignorance, necessary denial.

Hands muddied, eyes bleeding tears,
I embrace these fetid corpses, one and all,
For their decomposition is my composition;

They dwell in me, as I dwell in each of them--
Rejected, cast into a prison of grime, the
Suffocating earth that is self-loathing.

Sylvia, the residue of you is alive in the new.
Your icy dead masks glower at me
From mirrors; they hang from walls of every

Room, dangle from light fixtures of the
Decaying corridors and empty halls through
Which I blindly stumble, blood chilled.

Yes, we share a day of birth; shall I follow
You to death as well? I have five years still.
And how it haunts me, this lonely end of yours:

Bare white flesh plastered to cold hard
Kitchen tile, the stink of baby crap married,
Mid-air, to lingering gas--your death brew.

You must have discovered, running through
Verse, that one can only run so long, sweat
So hard; but death is the endless marathon.

Often, thawing under a solitary desk lamp, sunk
Into a lonely chair, I'll hold my breath at night,
Listening, gently, for the mad beating of footsteps.

James Chong
Los Angeles, USA
Friday, December 3, 1999


The Sylvia Plath Forum is administered by Elaine Connell, author of Sylvia Plath: Killing The Angel In The House.

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