Sylvia Plath Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Sylvia Plath. Here they are! All 200 of them:

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I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life. And I am horribly limited.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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If you expect nothing from somebody you are never disappointed.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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Kiss me, and you will see how important I am.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.
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Sylvia Plath
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I have the choice of being constantly active and happy or introspectively passive and sad. Or I can go mad by ricocheting in between.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of sceneryβ€”air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, "This is what it is to be happy.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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The silence depressed me. It wasn't the silence of silence. It was my own silence.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead; I lift my eyes and all is born again.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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let me live, love, and say it well in good sentences
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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Remember, remember, this is now, and now, and now. Live it, feel it, cling to it. I want to become acutely aware of all I’ve taken for granted.
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Sylvia Plath
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Is there no way out of the mind?
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Sylvia Plath
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I desire the things that will destroy me in the end.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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If neurotic is wanting two mutually exclusive things at one and the same time, then I'm neurotic as hell. I'll be flying back and forth between one mutually exclusive thing and another for the rest of my days.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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And when at last you find someone to whom you feel you can pour out your soul, you stop in shock at the words you utterβ€” they are so rusty, so ugly, so meaningless and feeble from being kept in the small cramped dark inside you so long.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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If the moon smiled, she would resemble you. You leave the same impression Of something beautiful, but annihilating.
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Sylvia Plath (Ariel: The Restored Edition)
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I like people too much or not at all. I've got to go down deep, to fall into people, to really know them.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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Can you understand? Someone, somewhere, can you understand me a little, love me a little? For all my despair, for all my ideals, for all that - I love life. But it is hard, and I have so much - so very much to learn.
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Sylvia Plath (The Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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The trouble was, I had been inadequate all along, I simply hadn't thought about it.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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We should meet in another life, we should meet in air, me and you.
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Sylvia Plath
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I talk to God but the sky is empty.
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Sylvia Plath
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When they asked me what I wanted to be I said I didn’t know. "Oh, sure you know," the photographer said. "She wants," said Jay Cee wittily, "to be everything.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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There is nothing like puking with somebody to make you into old friends.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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Yes, I was infatuated with you: I am still. No one has ever heightened such a keen capacity of physical sensation in me. I cut you out because I couldn't stand being a passing fancy. Before I give my body, I must give my thoughts, my mind, my dreams. And you weren't having any of those.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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I must get my soul back from you; I am killing my flesh without it.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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I felt very still and empty, the way the eye of a tornado must feel, moving dully along in the middle of the surrounding hullabaloo.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is a bad dream.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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How we need another soul to cling to.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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I am still so naΓ―ve; I know pretty much what I like and dislike; but please, don’t ask me who I am. A passionate, fragmentary girl, maybe?
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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Dying Is an art, like everything else. I do it exceptionally well. I do it so it feels like hell. I do it so it feels real. I guess you could say I have a call.
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Sylvia Plath (Ariel)
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because wherever I satβ€”on the deck of a ship or at a street cafΓ© in Paris or Bangkokβ€”I would be sitting under the same glass bell jar, stewing in my own sour air.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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I don’t care about anyone, and the feeling is quite obviously mutual.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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Perhaps some day I'll crawl back home, beaten, defeated. But not as long as I can make stories out of my heartbreak, beauty out of sorrow.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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I have never found anybody who could stand to accept the daily demonstrative love I feel in me, and give back as good as I give.
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Sylvia Plath (The Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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So many people are shut up tight inside themselves like boxes, yet they would open up, unfolding quite wonderfully, if only you were interested in them." (Initiation)
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Sylvia Plath (Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams: Short Stories, Prose and Diary Excerpts)
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The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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I was supposed to be having the time of my life.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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What did my arms do before they held you?
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Sylvia Plath
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I wonder why I don't go to bed and go to sleep. But then it would be tomorrow, so I decide that no matter how tired, no matter how incoherent I am, I can skip on hour more of sleep and live.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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I couldn’t see the point of getting up. I had nothing to look forward to.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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I felt wise and cynical as all hell.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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Life has been some combination of fairy-tale coincidence and joie de vivre and shocks of beauty together with some hurtful self-questioning.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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I want to be important. By being different. And these girls are all the same.
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Sylvia Plath
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I didn't know why I was going to cry, but I knew that if anybody spoke to me or looked at me too closely the tears would fly out of my eyes and the sobs would fly out of the throat and I'd cry for a week.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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I didn’t want any flowers, I only wanted to lie with my hands turned up and be utterly empty. How free it is, you have no idea how free.
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Sylvia Plath (Ariel)
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How we need another soul to cling to, another body to keep us warm. To rest and trust; to give your soul in confidence: I need this, I need someone to pour myself into.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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I write only because There is a voice within me That will not be still
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Sylvia Plath (Letters Home)
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And the danger is that in this move toward new horizons and far directions, that I may lose what I have now, and not find anything except loneliness.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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Out of the ash I rise with my red hair and I eat men like air.
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Sylvia Plath (Ariel: The Restored Edition)
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That’s one of the reasons I never wanted to get married. The last thing I wanted was infinite security and to be the place an arrow shoots off from. I wanted change and excitement and to shoot off in all directions myself, like the colored arrows from a Fourth of July rocket.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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I didn’t want my picture taken because I was going to cry. I didn’t know why I was going to cry, but I knew that if anybody spoke to me or looked at me too closely the tears would fly out of my eyes and the sobs would fly out of my throat and I’d cry for a week. I could feel the tears brimming and sloshing in me like water in a glass that is unsteady and too full.
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Sylvia Plath
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There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know many of them.
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Sylvia Plath
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Mad Girl's Love Song I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead; I lift my lids and all is born again. (I think I made you up inside my head.) The stars go waltzing out in blue and red, And arbitrary blackness gallops in: I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead. I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane. (I think I made you up inside my head.) God topples from the sky, hell's fires fade: Exit seraphim and Satan's men: I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead. I fancied you'd return the way you said, But I grow old and I forget your name. (I think I made you up inside my head.) I should have loved a thunderbird instead; At least when spring comes they roar back again. I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead. (I think I made you up inside my head.)
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Sylvia Plath
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God, but life is loneliness, despite all the opiates, despite the shrill tinsel gaiety of "parties" with no purpose, despite the false grinning faces we all wear. And when at last you find someone to whom you feel you can pour out your soul, you stop in shock at the words you utter - they are so rusty, so ugly, so meaningless and feeble from being kept in the small cramped dark inside you so long. Yes, there is joy, fulfillment and companionship - but the loneliness of the soul in its appalling self-consciousness is horrible and overpowering.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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The floor seemed wonderfully solid. It was comforting to know I had fallen and could fall no farther.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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But when it came right down to it, the skin of my wrist looked so white and defensless that I couldn't do it. It was as if what I wanted to kill wasn't in that skin or the thin blue pulse that jumped under my thumb, but somewhere else, deeper, more secret, and a whole lot harder to get.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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There is something demoralizing about watching two people get more and more crazy about each other, especially when you are the only extra person in the room. It's like watching Paris from an express caboose heading in the opposite direction--every second the city gets smaller and smaller, only you feel it's really you getting smaller and smaller and lonelier and lonelier, rushing away from all those lights and excitement at about a million miles an hour.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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Living with him is like being told a perpetual story: his mind is the biggest, most imaginative I have ever met. I could live in its growing countries forever.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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I lean to you, numb as a fossil. Tell me I'm here.
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Sylvia Plath (The Collected Poems)
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What horrifies me most is the idea of being useless: well-educated, brilliantly promising, and fading out into an indifferent middle age.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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Eternity bores me, I never wanted it. From the poem "Years", 16 November 1962
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Sylvia Plath (The Collected Poems)
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If you love her", I said, "you'll love somebody else someday.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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Some things are hard to write about. After something happens to you, you go to write it down, and either you over dramatize it, or underplay it, exaggerate the wrong parts or ignore the important ones. At any rate, you never write it quite the way you want to.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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I am terrified by this dark thing that sleeps in me.
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Sylvia Plath (The Collected Poems)
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I want to taste and glory in each day, and never be afraid to experience pain; and never shut myself up in a numb core of nonfeeling, or stop questioning and criticizing life and take the easy way out. To learn and think: to think and live; to live and learn: this always, with new insight, new understanding, and new love.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one’s head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no tomorrow. To forget time, to forgive life, to be at peace.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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I think I made you up inside my head.
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Sylvia Plath
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How frail the human heart must be―a mirrored pool of thought.
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Sylvia Plath (Letters Home)
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If they substituted the word 'Lust' for 'Love' in the popular songs it would come nearer the truth.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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I thought the most beautiful thing in the world must be shadow.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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So much working, reading, thinking, living to do! A lifetime is not long enough.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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There I went again, building up a glamorous picture of a man who would love me passionately the minute he met me, and all out of a few prosy nothings.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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If I didn't think, I'd be much happier; if I didn't have any sex organs, I wouldn't waver on the brink of nervous emotion and tears all the time.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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I began to think vodka was my drink at last. It didn’t taste like anything, but it went straight down into my stomach like a sword swallowers’ sword and made me feel powerful and godlike.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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The trouble about jumping was that if you didn't pick the right number of storeys, you might still be alive when you hit bottom.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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Ever since I was small I loved feeling somebody comb my hair. It made me go all sleepy and peaceful.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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So I began to think maybe it was true that when you were married and had children it was like being brainwashed, and afterward you went about as numb as a slave in a totalitarian state.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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I told him I believed in hell, and that certain people, like me, had to live in hell before they died, to make up for missing out on it after death, since they didn't believe in life after death, and what each person believed happened to him when he died.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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What did my fingers do before they held him? What did my heart do, with its love? From " Three Women: A Poem for Three Voices", 1962
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Sylvia Plath (The Collected Poems)
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I love people. Everybody. I love them, I think, as a stamp collector loves his collection. Every story, every incident, every bit of conversation is raw material for me. My love's not impersonal yet not wholly subjective either. I would like to be everyone, a cripple, a dying man, a whore, and then come back to write about my thoughts, my emotions, as that person. But I am not omniscient. I have to live my life, and it is the only one I'll ever have. And you cannot regard your own life with objective curiosity all the time...
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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People or stars Regard me sadly, I disappoint them. From the poem "Sheep in Fog", 2 December 1962, 28 January 1963
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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I wanted to be where nobody I knew could ever come.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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Is anyone anywhere happy?
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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Please don’t expect me to always be good and kind and loving. There are times when I will be cold and thoughtless and hard to understand.
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Sylvia Plath
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I love my rejection slips. They show me I try.
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Sylvia Plath
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I am too pure for you or anyone. From the poem "Fever 103Β°", 20 October 1962
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Sylvia Plath (The Collected Poems)
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How can you be so many women to so many strange people, oh you strange girl?
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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It seemed silly to wash one day when I would only have to wash again the next. It made me tired just to think of it.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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What is my life for and what am I going to do with it? I don't know and I'm afraid. I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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The thought that I might kill myself formed in my mind coolly as a tree or a flower.
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Sylvia Plath
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I am terrified by this dark thing That sleeps in me; All day I feel its soft, feathery turnings, its malignity.
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Sylvia Plath (Ariel)
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I do not love; I do not love anybody except myself. That is a rather shocking thing to admit. I have none of the selfless love of my mother. I have none of the plodding, practical love. . . . . I am, to be blunt and concise, in love only with myself, my puny being with its small inadequate breasts and meager, thin talents. I am capable of affection for those who reflect my own world.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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I am sure there are things that can't be cured by a good bath but I can't think of one.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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I thought the most beautiful thing in the world must be shadow, the million moving shapes and cul-de-sacs of shadow. There was shadow in bureau drawers and closets and suitcases, and shadow under houses and trees and stones, and shadow at the back of people's eyes and smiles, and shadow, miles and miles and miles of it, on the night side of the earth.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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I know pretty much what I like and dislike; but please, don't ask me who I am.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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I would catch sight of some flawless man off in the distance, but as soon as he moved closer I immediately saw he wouldn’t do at all.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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Here I am, a bundle of past recollections and future dreams, knotted up in a reasonably attractive bundle of flesh. I remember what this flesh has gone through; I dream of what it may go through.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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Yes, my consuming desire is to mingle with road crews, sailors and soldiers, barroom regularsβ€”to be a part of a scene, anonymous, listening, recordingβ€”all this is spoiled by the fact that I am a girl, a female always supposedly in danger of assault and battery. My consuming interest in men and their lives is often misconstrued as a desire to seduce them, or as an invitation to intimacy. Yes, God, I want to talk to everybody as deeply as I can. I want to be able to sleep in an open field, to travel west, to walk freely at night...
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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It was my first big chance, but here I was, sitting back and letting it run through my fingers like so much water.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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My mother said the cure for thinking too much about yourself was helping somebody who was worse off than you.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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I have taken a pill to kill The thin Papery feeling.
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Sylvia Plath (Ariel: The Restored Edition)
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Is it the sea you hear in me? Its dissatisfactions? Or the voice of nothing, that was your madness? Love is a shadow. How you lie and cry after it.
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Sylvia Plath (Ariel: The Restored Edition)
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You are a dream; I hope I never meet you.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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I felt dumb and subdued. Every time I tried to concentrate, my mind glided off, like a skater, into a large empty space, and pirouetted there, absently.
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Sylvia Plath (CliffsNotes on Plath's The Bell Jar)
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I am jealous of those who think more deeply, who write better, who draw better, who ski better, who look better, who live better, who love better than I.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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Why do we electrocute men for murdering an individual and then pin a purple heart on them for mass slaughter of someone arbitrarily labeled β€œenemy?
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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I felt myself melting into the shadows like the negative of a person I'd never seen before in my life.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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I have suffered the atrocity of sunsets. --from "Elm
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Sylvia Plath (Ariel)
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At twenty I tried to die And get back, back, back to you. I thought even the bones would do.
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Sylvia Plath (Ariel)
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But I wasn't sure. I wasn't sure at all. How did I know that someday―at college, in Europe, somewhere, anywhere―the bell jar, with its stifling distortions, wouldn't descend again?
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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I buried my head under the darkness of the pillow and pretended it was night. I couldn't see the point of getting up. I had nothing to look forward to.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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I guess I should have reacted the way most of the other girls were, but I couldn't get myself to react. I felt very still and very empty, the way the eye of a tornado must feel, moving dully along in the middle of the surrounding hullabaloo.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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The blood of love welled up in my heart with a slow pain.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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I knew you'd decide to be all right again.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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Everything people did seemed so silly, because they only died in the end.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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I may never be happy, but tonight I am content.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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Wear your heart on your skin in this life.
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Sylvia Plath (Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams: Short Stories, Prose and Diary Excerpts)
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Whenever I'm sad I'm going to die, or so nervous I can't sleep, or in love with somebody I won't be seeing for a week, I slump down just so far and then I say: 'I'll go take a hot bath.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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How we need that security. How we need another soul to cling to, another body to keep us warm. To rest and trust; to give your soul in confidence: I need this, I need someone to pour myself into.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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Character is fate.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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I want to write because I have the urge to excel in one medium of translation and expression of life. I can't be satisfied with the colossal job of merely living. Oh, no, I must order life in sonnets and sestinas and provide a verbal reflector for my 60-watt lighted head.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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I wondered why I couldn't go the whole way doing what I should any more. This made me sad and tired. Then I wondered why I couldn't go the whole way doing what I shouldn't, the way Doreen did, and this made me even sadder and more tired.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
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I laugh, and my lipstick leaves a red stain like a bloody crescent moon on the top of the beer can.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
β€œ
I wanted to tell her that if only something were wrong with my body it would be fine, I would rather have anything wrong with my body than something wrong with my head, but the idea seemed so involved and wearisome that I didn’t say anything. I only burrowed down further in the bed.
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”
Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
β€œ
All I want is blackness. Blackness and silence.
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”
Sylvia Plath
β€œ
Let's face it: I'm scared, scared and frozen. First, I guess I'm afraid for myself... the old primitive urge for survival. It's getting so I live every moment with terrible intensity. It all flowed over me with a screaming ache of pain... remember, remember, this is now, and now, and now. Live it, feel it, cling to it. I want to become acutely aware of all I've taken for granted. When you feel that this may be good-bye, the last time, it hits you harder.
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”
Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
β€œ
I must be lean & write & make worlds beside this to live in.
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”
Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
β€œ
At this rate, I'd be lucky if I wrote a page a day. Then I knew what the problem was. I needed experience. How could I write about life when I'd never had a love affair or a baby or even seen anybody die? A girl I knew had just won a prize for a short story about her adventures among the pygmies in Africa. How could I compete with that sort of thing?
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
β€œ
There is so much hurt in this game of searching for a mate, of testing, trying. And you realize suddenly that you forgot it was a game, and turn away in tears.
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”
Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
β€œ
I must learn more about these people―try to understand them, put myself in their place. No, instead I am so busy keeping my head above water that I scarcely know who I am, much less who anyone else is.
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”
Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
β€œ
Then I decided I would spend the summer writing a novel. That would fix a lot of people.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
β€œ
I have stitched life into me like a rare organ --from "Three Women: A Poem for Three Voices", written 1962
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”
Sylvia Plath (The Collected Poems)
β€œ
It is awful to want to go away and to want to go nowhere.
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”
Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
β€œ
The more hopeless you were, the further away they hid you.
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”
Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
β€œ
Mother of otherness, Eat me. --from "Poem for a Birthday - Who", written 1960
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Sylvia Plath (The Collected Poems)
β€œ
I wanted to crawl in between those black lines of print, the way you crawl through a fence, and go to sleep under that beautiful big green fig-tree.
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”
Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
β€œ
There is something demoralizing about watching two people get more and more crazy about each other, especially when you are the only extra person in the room.
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”
Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
β€œ
Nothing stinks like a pile of unpublished writing.
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”
Sylvia Plath
β€œ
I am terrified by this dark thing That sleeps in me; All day I feel its soft, feathery turnings, its malignity. Clouds pass and disperse. Are those the faces of love, those pale irretrievables? Is it for such I agitate my heart? I am incapable of more knowledge. What is this, this face So murderous in its strangle of branches? - Its snaky acids kiss. It petrifies the will. These are the isolate, slow faults That kill, that kill, that kill. From the poem "Elm", 19 April 1962
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Sylvia Plath (The Collected Poems)
β€œ
Why the hell are we conditioned into the smooth strawberry-and-cream Mother-Goose-world, Alice-in-Wonderland fable, only to be broken on the wheel as we grow older and become aware of ourselves as individuals with a dull responsibility in life?
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
β€œ
Well, I know now. I know a little more how much a simple thing like a snowfall can mean to a person
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”
Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
β€œ
I’ll never speak to God again.
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Sylvia Plath
β€œ
No day is safe from news of you. --from "The Rival", written July 1961
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Sylvia Plath (Ariel)
β€œ
I smile, now, thinking: we all like to think we are important enough to need psychiatrists
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
β€œ
Maybe forgetfulness, like a kind snow, should numb and cover them. But they were a part of me. They were my landscape.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
β€œ
What a man wants is a mate and what a woman wants is infinite security,’ and, β€˜What a man is is an arrow into the future and a what a woman is is the place the arrow shoots off from.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
β€œ
I am dead to them, even though I once flowered.
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Sylvia Plath (The Journals Of Sylvia Plath)
β€œ
For throughout history, you can read the stories of women who - against all the odds - got being a woman right, but ended up being compromised, unhappy, hobbled or ruined, because all around them, society was still wrong. Show a girl a pioneering hero - Sylvia Plath, Dorothy Parker, Frida Kahlo, Cleopatra, Boudicca, Joan of Arc - and you also, more often than not, show a girl a woman who was eventually crushed.
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Caitlin Moran (How to Be a Woman)
β€œ
With me, the present is forever, and forever is always shifting, flowing, melting. This second is life. And when it is gone it is dead. But you can't start over with each new second. You have to judge by what is dead. It's like quicksand... hopeless from the start.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
β€œ
I am gone quite mad with the knowledge of accepting the overwhelming number of things I can never know, places I can never go, and people I can never be.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
β€œ
I’d say go to hell, but I never want to see you again.
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”
Mad Men, incorrectly attributed to Sylvia Plath
β€œ
Backward we traveled to reclaim the day Before we fell, like Icarus, undone; All we find are altars in decay And profane words scrawled black across the sun. --From the poem "Doom of the Exiles", written 16 April 1954
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Sylvia Plath (The Collected Poems)
β€œ
I think I am mad sometimes.
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Sylvia Plath
β€œ
Very few people do this any more. It's too risky. First of all, it's a hell of a responsibility to be yourself. It's much easier to be somebody else or nobody at all.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
β€œ
Now I am silent, hate Up to my neck, Thick, thick. I do not speak.
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Sylvia Plath (Ariel: The Restored Edition)
β€œ
All the heat and fear had purged itself. I felt surprisingly at peace. The bell jar hung suspended a few feet above my head. I was open to the circulating air.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
β€œ
The only reason I remembered this play was because it had a mad person in it, and everything I had ever read about mad people stuck in my mind, while everything else flew out.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
β€œ
I feel good with my husband: I like his warmth and his bigness and his being-there and his making and his jokes and stories and what he reads and how he likes fishing and walks and pigs and foxes and little animals and is honest and not vain or fame-crazy and how he shows his gladness for what I cook him and joy for when I make him something, a poem or a cake, and how he is troubled when I am unhappy and wants to do anything so I can fight out my soul-battles and grow up with courage and a philosophical ease. I love his good smell and his body that fits with mine as if they were made in the same body-shop to do just that. What is only pieces, doled out here and there to this boy and that boy, that made me like pieces of them, is all jammed together in my husband. So I don't want to look around any more: I don't need to look around for anything.
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”
Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
β€œ
And I sit here without identity: faceless. My head aches.
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”
Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
β€œ
I used to pray to recover you.
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Sylvia Plath (Ariel: The Restored Edition)
β€œ
I started adding up all the things I couldn't do.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
β€œ
And I a smiling woman. I am only thirty. And like the cat I have nine times to die.
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Sylvia Plath (Ariel)
β€œ
You smile. No, it is not fatal. --from "The Other", written 1962
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Sylvia Plath (Ariel: The Restored Edition)
β€œ
Oh, something is there, waiting for me. Perhaps someday the revelation will burst in upon me and I will see the other side of this monumental grotesque joke. And then I'll laugh. And then I'll know what life is.
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”
Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
β€œ
I think writers are the most narcissistic people. Well, I musn't say this, I like many of them, a great many of my friends are writers.
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”
Sylvia Plath
β€œ
That afternoon my mother had brought me the roses. "Save them for my funeral," I'd said.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
β€œ
Why can’t I try on different lives, like dresses, to see which fits best and is more becoming?
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”
Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
β€œ
I had been alone more than I could have been had I gone by myself.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
β€œ
I? I walk alone; The midnight street Spins itself from under my feet; My eyes shut These dreaming houses all snuff out; Through a whim of mine Over gables the moon's celestial onion Hangs high. I Make houses shrink And trees diminish By going far; my look's leash Dangles the puppet-people Who, unaware how they dwindle, Laugh, kiss, get drunk, Nor guess that if I choose to blink They die. I When in good humour, Give grass its green Blazon sky blue, and endow the sun With gold; Yet, in my wintriest moods, I hold Absolute power To boycott color and forbid any flower To be. I Know you appear Vivid at my side, Denying you sprang out of my head, Claiming you feel Love fiery enough to prove flesh real, Though it's quite clear All your beauty, all your wit, is a gift, my dear, From me. "Soliloquy of the Solipsist", 1956
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Sylvia Plath (The Collected Poems)
β€œ
And I am aware of my heart: it opens and closes Its bowl of red blooms out of sheer love of me. --from "Tulips", written 18 March 1961
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Sylvia Plath (Ariel)
β€œ
I saw the days of the year stretching ahead like a series of bright, white boxes, and separating one box from another was sleep, like a black shade. Only for me, the long perspective of shades that set off one box from the next day had suddenly snapped up, and I could see day after day after day glaring ahead of me like a white, broad, infinitely desolate avenue.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
β€œ
I hated men because they didn’t stay around and love me like a father: I could prick holes in them & show they were no father-material. I made them propose and then showed them they hadn’t a chance. I hated men because they didn’t have to suffer like a woman did. They could die or go to Spain. They could have fun while a woman had birth pangs. They could gamble while a woman skimped on the butter on the bread. Men, nasty lousy men.
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”
Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
β€œ
Now I know what loneliness is, I think. Momentary loneliness, anyway. It comes from a vague core of the self - - like a disease of the blood, dispersed throughout the body so that one cannot locate the matrix, the spot of contagion.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
β€œ
I saw the years of my life spaced along a road in the form of telephone poles threaded together by wires. I counted one, two, three... nineteen telephone poles, and then the wires dangled into space, and try as I would, I couldn't see a single pole beyond the nineteenth.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
β€œ
To look at her, you might not guess that inside she is laughing and crying, at her own stupidities and luckiness, and at the strange enigmatic ways of the world which she will spend lifetime trying to learn and understand.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
β€œ
Do you know what a poem is, Esther?' No, what?' I would say. A piece of dust.' Then, just as he was smiling and starting to look proud, I would say, 'So are the cadavers you cut up. So are the people you think you're curing. They're dust as dust as dust. I reckon a good poem lasts a whole lot longer than a hundred of those people put together.' And of course Buddy wouldn't have any answer to that, because what I said was true. People were made of nothing so much as dust, and I couldn't see that doctoring all that dust was a bit better than writing poems people would remember and repeat to themselves when they were unhappy or sick or couldn't sleep.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
β€œ
There is a charge For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge For the hearing of my heart - It really goes. And there is a charge, a very large charge, For a word or a touch Or a bit of blood Or a piece of my hair or my clothes.
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Sylvia Plath (Ariel: The Restored Edition)
β€œ
I can't deceive myself that out of the bare stark realization that no matter how enthusiastic you are, no matter how sure that character is fate, nothing is real, past or future, when you are alone in your room with the clock ticking loudly into the false cheerful brilliance of the electric light. And if you have no past or future which, after all, is all that the present is made of, why then you may as well dispose of the empty shell of present and commit suicide.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
β€œ
I felt like a racehorse in a world without racetracks or a champion college footballer suddenly confronted by Wall Street and a business suit, his days of glory shrunk to a little gold cup on his mantel with a date engraved on it like the date on a tombstone.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
β€œ
I’d discovered, after a lot of extreme apprehension about what spoons to use, that if you do something incorrect at table with a certain arrogance, as if you knew perfectly well you were doing it properly, you can get away with it and nobody will think you are bad-mannered or poorly brought up. They will think you are original and very witty.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
β€œ
I am afraid of getting older. I am afraid of getting married. Spare me from cooking three meals a dayβ€”spare me from the relentless cage of routine and rote. I want to be free. (...) I want, I think, to be omniscient… I think I would like to call myself "The girl who wanted to be God." Yet if I were not in this body, where would I beβ€”perhaps I am destined to be classified and qualified. But, oh, I cry out against it. I am Iβ€”I am powerfulβ€”but to what extent? I am I.
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Sylvia Plath (Letters Home)
β€œ
There must be quite a few things a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know many of them. Whenever I'm sad I'm going to die, or so nervous I can't sleep, or in love with somebody I won't be seeing for a week, I slump down just so far and then I say: "I'll go take a hot bath.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
β€œ
I Am Vertical But I would rather be horizontal. I am not a tree with my root in the soil Sucking up minerals and motherly love So that each March I may gleam into leaf, Nor am I the beauty of a garden bed Attracting my share of Ahs and spectacularly painted, Unknowing I must soon unpetal. Compared with me, a tree is immortal And a flower-head not tall, but more startling, And I want the one's longevity and the other's daring. Tonight, in the infinitesimal light of the stars, The trees and flowers have been strewing their cool odors. I walk among them, but none of them are noticing. Sometimes I think that when I am sleeping I must most perfectly resemble them-- Thoughts gone dim. It is more natural to me, lying down. Then the sky and I are in open conversation, And I shall be useful when I lie down finally: The the trees may touch me for once, and the flowers have time for me. "I Am Vertical", 28 March 1961
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Sylvia Plath (The Collected Poems)
β€œ
In a rabbit-fear I may hurl myself under the wheels of the car because the lights terrify me, and under the dark blind death of wheels I will be safe. I am very tired, very banal, very confused. I do not know who I am tonight. I wanted to walk until I dropped and not complete the inevitable circle of coming home.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
β€œ
I may never be happy, but tonight I am content. Nothing more than an empty house, the warm hazy weariness from a day spent setting strawberry runners in the sun, a glass of cool sweet milk, and a shallow dish of blueberries bathed in cream. When one is so tired at the end of a day one must sleep, and at the next dawn there are more strawberry runners to set, and so one goes on living, near the earth. At times like this I'd call myself a fool to ask for more...
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
β€œ
My world falls apart, crumbles, β€œThe centre cannot hold.” There is no integrating force, only the naked fear, the urge of self-preservation. I am afraid. I am not solid, but hollow. I feel behind my eyes a numb, paralysed cavern, a pit of hell, a mimicking nothingness. I never thought. I never wrote, I never suffered. I want to kill myself, to escape from responsibility, to crawl back abjectly into the womb. I do not know who I am, where I am goingβ€”and I am the one who has to decide the answers to these hideous questions. I long for a noble escape from freedomβ€”I am weak, tired, in revolt from the strong constructive humanitarian faith which presupposes a healthy, active intellect and will. There is nowhere to go.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
β€œ
There is a certain unique and strange delight about walking down an empty street alone. There is an off-focus light cast by the moon, and the streetlights are part of the spotlight apparatus on a bare stage set up for you to walk through. You get a feeling of being listened to, so you talk aloud, softly, to see how it sounds.
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
β€œ
I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
β€œ
So, now I shall talk every night. To myself. To the moon. I shall walk, as I did tonight, jealous of my loneliness, in the blue-silver of the cold moon, shining brilliantly on the drifts of fresh-fallen snow, with the myriad sparkles. I talk to myself and look at the dark trees, blessedly neutral. So much easier than facing people, than having to look happy, invulnerable, clever. With masks down, I walk, talking to the moon, to the neutral impersonal force that does not hear, but merely accepts my being. And does not smite me down.
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Sylvia Plath (The Journals of Sylvia Plath)
β€œ
Being born a woman is my awful tragedy. From the moment I was conceived I was doomed to sprout breasts and ovaries rather than penis and scrotum; to have my whole circle of action, thought and feeling rigidly circumscribed by my inescapable feminity. Yes, my consuming desire to mingle with road crews, sailors and soldiers, bar room regulars--to be a part of a scene, anonymous, listening, recording--all is spoiled by the fact that I am a girl, a female always in danger of assault and battery. My consuming interest in men and their lives is often misconstrued as a desire to seduce them, or as an invitation to intimacy. Yet, God, I want to talk to everybody I can as deeply as I can. I want to be able to sleep in an open field, to travel west, to walk freely at night...
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Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
β€œ
And I knew that in spite of all the roses and kisses and restaurant dinners a man showered on a woman before he married her, what he secretly wanted when the wedding service ended was for her to flatten out underneath his feet like Mrs. Willard's kitchen mat...I also remembered Buddy Willard saying in a sinister, knowing way that after I had children I would feel differently, I wouldn't want to write poems any more. So I began to think maybe it was true that when you were married and had children it was like being brainwashed, and afterward you went about numb as a slave in some private, totalitarian state.
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Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
β€œ
We'll act as if all this were a bad dream." A bad dream. To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is the bad dream. A bad dream. I remembered everything. I remembered the cadavers and Doreen and the story of the fig tree and Marco's diamond and the sailor on the Common and Doctor Gordon's wall-eyed nurse and the broken thermometers and the Negro with his two kinds of beans and the twenty pounds I gained on insulin and the rock that bulged between sky and sea like a gray skull. Maybe forgetfulness, like a kind snow, would numb and cover them. But they were part of me. They were my landscape.
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”
Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
β€œ
Mirror I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions. Whatever I see I swallow immediately Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike. I am not cruel, only truthful- The eye of the little god, four cornered. Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall. It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers. Faces and darkness separate us over and over. Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me, Searching my reaches for what she really is. Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon. I see her back, and reflect it faithfully. She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands. I am important to her. She comes and goes. Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness. In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish. --written 1960
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Sylvia Plath (The Collected Poems)
β€œ
I believe that there are people who think as I do, who have thought as I do, who will think as I do. There are those who will live, unconscious of me, but continuing my attitude, so to speak, as I continue, unknowingly, the similar attitude of those before me. I could write and write. All it takes is a motion of the hand in response to a brain impulse, trained from childhood to record in our own American brand of hieroglyphics the translations of external stimuli. How much of my brain is wilfully my own? How much is not a rubber stamp of what I have read and heard and lived? Sure, I make a sort of synthesis of what I come across, but that is all that differentiates me from another person? - - - That I have banged into and assimilated various things? That my environment and a chance combination of genes got me where I am?
”
”
Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
β€œ
LADY LAZARUS I have done it again. One year in every ten I manage it-- A sort of walking miracle, my skin Bright as a Nazi lampshade, My right foot A paperweight, My face a featureless, fine Jew linen. Peel off the napkin O my enemy. Do I terrify?-- The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth? The sour breath Will vanish in a day. Soon, soon the flesh The grave cave ate will be At home on me And I a smiling woman. I am only thirty. And like the cat I have nine times to die. This is Number Three. What a trash To annihilate each decade. What a million filaments. The peanut-crunching crowd Shoves in to see Them unwrap me hand and foot-- The big strip tease. Gentlemen, ladies These are my hands My knees. I may be skin and bone, Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman. The first time it happened I was ten. It was an accident. The second time I meant To last it out and not come back at all. I rocked shut As a seashell. They had to call and call And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls. Dying Is an art, like everything else. I do it exceptionally well. I do it so it feels like hell. I do it so it feels real. I guess you could say I've a call. It's easy enough to do it in a cell. It's easy enough to do it and stay put. It's the theatrical Comeback in broad day To the same place, the same face, the same brute Amused shout: 'A miracle!' That knocks me out. There is a charge For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge For the hearing of my heart-- It really goes. And there is a charge, a very large charge For a word or a touch Or a bit of blood Or a piece of my hair or my clothes. So, so, Herr Doktor. So, Herr Enemy. I am your opus, I am your valuable, The pure gold baby That melts to a shriek. I turn and burn. Do not think I underestimate your great concern. Ash, ash-- You poke and stir. Flesh, bone, there is nothing there-- A cake of soap, A wedding ring, A gold filling. Herr God, Herr Lucifer Beware Beware. Out of the ash I rise with my red hair And I eat men like air.
”
”
Sylvia Plath (Ariel)
β€œ
There are times when a feeling of expectancy comes to me, as if something is there, beneath the surface of my understanding, waiting for me to grasp it. It is the same tantalizing sensation when you almost remember a name, but don't quite reach it. I can feel it when I think of human beings, of the hints of evolution suggested by the removal of wisdom teeth, the narrowing of the jaw no longer needed to chew such roughage as it was accustomed to; the gradual disappearance of hair from the human body; the adjustment of the human eye to the fine print, the swift, colored motion of the twentieth century. The feeling comes, vague and nebulous, when I consider the prolonged adolesence of our species; the rites of birth, marriage and death; all the primitive, barbaric ceremonies streamlined to modern times. Almost, I think, the unreasoning, bestial purity was best. Oh, something is there, waiting for me. Perhaps someday the revelation will burst in upon me and I will see the other side of this monumental grotesque joke. And then I'll laugh. And then I'll know what life is.
”
”
Sylvia Plath (The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath)
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DADDY You do not do, you do not do Any more, 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, Ghastly statue with one grey toe Big as a Frisco seal And a head in the freakish Atlantic When it pours bean green over blue In the waters of 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 weird 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 mustache 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 And 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 then I 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 like you. They are dancing and stamping on you. They always knew it was you. Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through.
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Sylvia Plath (Ariel)