Dear Sylvia Plath (Response to ‘Apprehensions’)

Please let me preface with a confession –
I am not familiar with your work.
It is not oversight on my part, rather
a deliberate avoidance – you see,
I too have faced the brand of madness
that drove you to your death, have
feared that any intimacy we might share
would stir my own apprehensions.

Indeed, I understand all too well
the presence of walls,
have believed in the power of the sky,
the promise of green, found faith in angels –
nature my solace – realized too young
that the sun’s brilliance, that my brilliance
cannot be sustained by the innocence of white –
bleeds at the fate of indifferent stars.

I understand how gray seeps in,
tears away at the illusions,
entraps us –
how the past stalks, spirals,
threatens to suck us in, and how,
having lost my own connection to birds and trees,
wonderment sours.

It is the fate of women
born into patriarchal times,
that the blood of our menses
should colour our fists –
our fury as potent as a paper bag –
how can we not feel terror
when we worship a God
whose religion disparages our gender?

I have faced the inevitability of black –
what once brought solace having lost
its definition, unidentifiable –
have faced mortality, the cold blank
stares of death still haunting –
I am the one who passed you by –
afraid to linger too long in your words,
have woefully overlooked
the merit of a sympathetic read.

(This poem was first written in April of 2018. The prompt was to write a response to a poem by Sylvia Plath. It’s an interesting exercise. Image my own. )

Apprehensions by Sylvia Plath

There is this white wall, above which the sky creates itself-
Infinite, green, utterly untouchable.
Angels swim in it, and the stars, in indifference also.
They are my medium.
The sun dissolves on this wall, bleeding its lights.

A grey wall now, clawed and bloody.
Is there no way out of the mind?
Steps at my back spiral into a well.
There are no trees or birds in this world,
There is only sourness.

This red wall winces continually:
A red fist, opening and closing,
Two grey, papery bags-
This is what i am made of, this, and a terror
Of being wheeled off under crosses and rain of pietas.

On a black wall, unidentifiable birds
Swivel their heads and cry.
There is no talk of immorality among these!
Cold blanks approach us: 
They move in a hurry.



Heavy Autumn sky cover
mirroring an internal gloom

I own this fight; this darkness
the trail is mine alone

Woodpecker’s drumming
fails to distract; I am submersed

Till sunlight pierces the veil
an unmistakeable allure

Gratitude, I am reminded,
always at the ready.

(Image my own)

It Is In the Darkest Hour…

In darkness, eyes open
search for light –
touch fear
find faith

In darkness, I stumble
lose my way,
stop, pray,
listen anew

In darkness, vulnerability
strength emerges
priorities engage
soul mends.

(For Reena’s Exploration challenge – prompt is title of this piece; and Ragtag Community’s – mend. ┬áImage from personal collection.)


Midnight Caller

Who is at my door,
at nighttime prowls?

Temporary is this stopover;
bravado attempting vision –

fear limits perspective
and I’ve been called –

what emergency exists
that sets my heart throbbing;

why is it so difficult to breathe?

Is it angel or devil that seeks
entrance, pierces the darkness;

I am present – would prefer sleep
(more clarity in dreaming), need

to devise a plan for safety, try
to connect, believe this intrusion

answers my aching, unyielding soul.



Creativity –
eight-legged predator –
invades the decks
of my listing mind,
reproducing rapidly.

Her generous,
bejewelled appendages
skittering beneath
my plastic-boned
Caucasian frailty.

I hesitate –
friend or foe?
Should I trample
crush this invasion,
or surrender…
risk madness?

We are ocean –
bound, shoreless
prefer interior spaces
wary of open vistas
equally vulnerable

intent on

I flee
lair – enter
into darker

Destiny –
creativity’s cousin –
awaits, tail raised
in venomous arc –
dances a warning
does not

melts into
particles of