Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Moon and the Yew Tree by Sylvia Plath

Tuesday morning - and I needed on of those gorgeous poems that reminds me, oh, yes, this is what I want to do. Write.

This poem by Sylvia Plath courtesy of Ellen Moody on the Women Writers Through the Ages online discussion group.

The Moon and the Yew Tree

by Sylvia Plath

This is the light of the mind, cold and planetary.
The trees of the mind are black. The light is blue.
The grasses unload their griefs on my feet as if I were God,
Prickling my ankles and murmuring of their humility.
Fumy, spiritous mists inhabit this place
Separated from my house by a row of headstones.
I simply cannot see where there is to get to.

The moon is no door. It is a face in its own right,
White as a knuckle and terribly upset.
It drags the sea after it like a dark crime; it is quiet
With the O-gape of complete despair. I live here.
Twice on Sunday, the bells startle the sky
Eight great tongues affirming the Resurrection.
At the end, they soberly bong out their names.

The yew tree points up. It has a Gothic shape.
The eyes lift after it and find the moon.
The moon is my mother. She is not sweet like Mary.
Her blue garments unloose small bats and owls.
How I would like to believe in tenderness
The face of the effigy, gentled by candles,
Bending, on me in particular, its mild eyes.

I have fallen a long way. Clouds are flowering
Blue and mystical over the face of the stars.
Inside the church, the saints will be all blue,
Floating on their delicate feet over the cold pews,
Their hands and faces stiff with holiness.
The moon sees nothing of this. She is bald and wild.
And the message of the yew tree is blackness-blackness and silence.


Anonymous said...

i have a question about the 2nd stanza ....the last three lines are

twice on sunday the bells startle the sky
eight great toungous affirming the Resurrection
at the end they soberly bong out their names

i dont understand what is the meaning of it is their a greater significance with the bells ringing 2 times on sunday and with the eight great tongous??

if u can help me figure this out it wuld be a great help

Julie R. Enszer said...

The eight great tongues are the "clappers" on the bells that are ringing at the church in my reading of the poem. The bells probably ring two times on Sunday for the two different masses signalling a call to the members of the church that the services are beginning.

It's a wonderful poem, isn't it?