Sunday, 7 April 2013


Lady Lazarus by Sylvia Plath

I have done it again
Once in every ten years
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 it happened I meant 
To last it out and not come back at all.
I closed shut

As a seashell. 
They had to call and call
and peel the worms off me like sticky pearls.

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 calling.

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 Doctor.
So, Herr enemy.

I am your opus,
I am your valuable.
The pure gold baby 

That melts with a shriek.
I turn and burn.
Do not think I underestimate your great concern.

Ash, ash--
you poke and stir.
Skin, bone, there is nothing here--

A cake of soap.
A wedding ring.
A gold filling.

Herr God, Herr Lucifer,

Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air.