The Sylvia Plath Forum

Poems inspired by Sylvia Plath

Sheppenmuth: For Sylvia Plath

The painted wooden face was known to me.
She stood in the dusty museum sun
Painted eyes lengthened with kohl,
Azure, terra-cotta, white
Emblazoned cartonnage.

The Isis wings, spread in care and love.
Curving protective Neckbet and Nepthys.
Beneath, the corticate skin
Black bitumen. Eyeless, cracked and black
Dessicated viscera wrapped apart.

Leaving child and husband, moving through satin bands of shadow
Singing in the ecstatic sun.
Feet hissing through the silken sand
She carried the Milk Jar and a Palm frond,
Worshipping and serving each day.

This lady was the songtress of Amun-Re
Her songs curved upward in the great Temple of Thebes.
The stone beauty of the face of the God above her frailty
Gave her voice a scope of praise denied to our dessicated senses

When death stooped on her, claws and beak ripped.
Then feathers lay outstretched, in love-
Horus wings, Night Heron beak,
Having slain, now standing guard in fearful phalanx.
Leaving the echo between the roof trees.

Her flesh must be pickled, cured with cinna,on and myrrh.
The skull, frail as a blown egg,
Emptied of its convolute majesty,
Stuffed with delicate resinous rags.
When the sucking matron has had its meal
Her shell will taste the shriving sun and wind once more.
Blow gently, shine kindly down, Amun-Re, on thy slave.

She shall be wrapped in fine linen
Layer on layer, and laced like a shoe
The last we shall see is linen and plaster and paint.
May her journey be safe through the dark tunnels.
May her soul sing in light before her God,
In soft peace. The holding wings enfold my friend.

Priestess of Thebes. Singer of Amun-Re
Bearer of the little Milk Jar.

Elizabeth Sigmund
Devon, UK
Wednesday, May 16, 2001

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

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