Monday, June 03, 2013

After Ariel

We went to hear a reading of Sylvia Plath's collection of poetry Ariel to mark fifty years since Sylvia Plath's death.

It was an extraordinary evening.

After Ariel

That night the moon
dragged its blood bag, sick
Up over the harbour lights.
And then grew normal,
Hard and apart and white.’

From Lesbos by Sylvia Plath

As we crossed the river north
over Waterloo Bridge
the night they read Ariel to us,
the full moon rose red
like a discarded petal
beyond the cold grey dome
of Saint Paul’s.

But we travelled on West
through Knightsbridge
in hushed silence
its darkened streets
towering around us.
Hearing her poems
defiant and insistent
settling on memory,

passing street lights
that picked out
bridal window displays –
French lace 

and embroidered tulle,
imagining the gowns
stained her colour
in this moonlight.

And still later along darker
sub-urban streets,
I caught a glimpse of the moon again.
Now its large, pure white disc
still rising slowly
like a silent bride
throwing its bouquet of distant light
to no one waiting.

© David Loffman