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Night Dancing with Plath

Verlie Burroughs is a west coast writer from Vancouver Island.

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Night Dancing with Plath - my poem

Like a child
softly sleeping
a Lily’s soul paints
petals on my dreams

And I retrieve her smile
from the grass!

She is dancing
in the moonlight
Her cold shadows
circle me.

Forgetting now our paths
We cross space like falling stars

Gifts of frozen light
melting.

Musical interlude...if you start play at 2:38 you miss the long introduction, sorry I wasn't able to set that up for you, it's worth a listen!

The Night Dances by Sylvia Plath


A smile fell in the grass.
Irretrievable!

And how will your night dances
Lose themselves. In mathematics?

Such pure leaps and spirals-
Surely they travel

The world forever, I shall not entirely
Sit emptied of beauties, the gift

Of your small breath, the drenched grass
Smell of your sleeps, lilies, lilies.

Their flesh bears no relation.
Cold folds of ego, the calla,

And the tiger, embellishing itself-
Spots, and a spread of hot petals.

The comets
Have such a space to cross,
Such coldness, forgetfulness.
So your gestures flake off-

Warm and human, then their pink light
Bleeding and peeling

Through the black amnesias of heaven.
Why am I given

These lamps, these planets
Falling like blessings, like flakes

Six sided, white
On my eyes, my lips, my hair

Touching and melting.
Nowhere.

Regarding my response to Sylvia Plath's poem, The Night Dances

I wrote my poem in response to April 2018 poetry month day 29 prompt: respond to a Sylvia Plath poem.

I found myself truly lost with this challenge. I've never been able to access Plath's poetry (her darkness frightens me) and I am also always confused by her use of metaphor, which is of course key to understanding her poems.

This exercise opened the door a crack, as I was fortunate to find a wonderful analyses of The Night Dances by Andrew Spacey, which gave me insight and context into Plath's poem making. I've included a link to his article below.

Thank you so much Andrew!

In the end I attempted to find joy (perhaps my joy in finally connecting with her) in Plath's somber poem, while still respecting where she was coming from.

Note: I've also added a link below to the Jorge Luis Borges' Norton Lectures on Poetry, another amazing resource I found doing this challenge.



Andrew Spacey's Analysis of Sylvia Plath's poem: The Night Dances

Jorge Luis Borges' Norton Lectures on Poetry

© 2018 Verlie Burroughs

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