Mushrooms - Sylvia Plath
Blood glistens on the tips of Syvia Plath’s words. Behind every sonic heave, every metrical thrust, one feels the pulse of a heart that is caged in the distorted gaze of a corrupt world. Plath’s poems reflected not only the turbulence of a postwar America in search of meaning, but also the tumult of despair that marred her life which ended in suicide.
Her poetry is the diary of a person driven to the depths of her mind by a world gone insane.
In one of her journal entries, dated June 20, 1958, she wrote: “It is as if my life were magically run by two electric currents: joyous positive and despairing negative—whichever is running at the moment dominates my life, floods it.”
This is a classical evocative description of what is diagnosed today as “bipolar disorder”. The “suicidal artist” label has often been applied to her work, but I feel that it would be dishonest to reduce her insight and body of work to what is often termed as an “obsession with death”, and themes of despair and absurdity. I see the documentation of her tryst with the “real” as startlingly raw, energetic and filled with the nakedness of life. She snatches away the veil, and casts a piercing light that turns every emotion, every metaphor into a thrashing chorus. It feels like she has learnt the truth of things, of death and of resistance. Her testimony is unfiltered…
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.
In today’s poem, with signature economy, and attention to detail, she makes a comment on the “voiceless”, the marginalised, and those who will “rise up” - the “so many” who will teach the few the meaning of resistance. Sounds familiar?