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    Morning Song
    by Sylvia Plath

    Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
    The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
    Took its place among the elements.

    Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
    In a drafty museum, your nakedness
    Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.

    I’m no more your mother
    Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
    Effacement at the wind’s hand.

    All night your moth-breath
    Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
    A far sea moves in my ear.

    One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
    In my Victorian nightgown.
    Your mouth opens clean as a cat’s. The window square

    Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
    Your handful of notes;
    The clear vowels rise like balloons.
    • CommentTimeOct 21st 2016
    She was good. I'm just beginning to appreciate.

    And not a plathitude anywhere in it.
    That's part of her deadly charm.

    She's best read when alone on Hallowe'en, somewhere that feels unsafe.
    Unsafe enough for her to visit.
    • CommentTimeOct 21st 2016 edited
    1950s suicidal depression is enough of a Hallowe'en atmosphere for me. But that one is relatively cheerful.
    Lady Lazarus not so much
    • CommentAuthorAsterix
    • CommentTimeOct 21st 2016
    Posted By: Angus1950s suicidal depression is enough of a Hallowe'en atmosphere for me. But that one is relatively cheerful.

    I once had a lady friend who was bonkers over Plath. I found her incredibly depressing--the both of them.
    Women like that are great when you're a student. They make it far easier to be a credible pseud.

    I had a similar juxtaposition of woman friend and associated literature rather later who was a big Emily Dickinson fan. Horny as hell and borderline insane.
    Sounds like post-partum depression to me.
    Not you. I meant the Plath poem above.
    Oh. Does that detract from the art though? You seem to be making an attempt to trivialise something rather wonderful.
    No, I am psychoanalyzing some rather trite doggerel. Plath is popular only because she was miserable and let everybody know it.
    • CommentTimeOct 21st 2016
    That's funny. It never works for me.
    Posted By: alsetalokinsome rather trite doggerel
    Not for me.

    Posted By: alsetalokinPlath is popular only because she was miserable and let everybody know it.
    No, she was popular because of how she expressed her experience of reality. Just because she was depressed was not enough. There are kajillions of depressed people. They don't have this ability. If they did, Plath would appear trite to the rest of us.
    • CommentAuthorAsterix
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2016
    Well, there was a period of the English Renaissance where melancholy was a fine art. I submit as an example, the music of John Dowland.

    It's a wonder that the entire population of Britain didn't commit suicide.
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2016
    Tommy Tompkins was pretty lugubrious too.
    But that's as rich as a Christmas cake, evocative, gilded and so beautifully sad it's triste. Comparing that to the alienation of Plath is like comparing a silk and honey massage to a crack to the body with a lump hammer.

    "Sad" is multidimensional.
    • CommentAuthorAsterix
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2016
    I think that if you were an English composer of the 16th century, you wrote stuff because it was the pop music of the time. Thomas Campion, Martin Peerson, Anthony Holborne...a whole bunch of guys from the Fitzwillie Virginal Book.

    Giles Farnaby and William Byrd were positively giddy by way of comparison. (I do like Gordon Jacob's settings of this era's music, however)
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2016
    I am a great fan of Byrd, if you can be a fan of anybody so long dead. Glenn Gould almost exclusively thought of in connection with Bach, was a great exponent of Byrd, and Elizabethan music in general. This performance is a bit idiosyncratic by today's standards, but he sure had the right technique.

    But he was horrible at Mozart.
    • CommentAuthorAsterix
    • CommentTimeOct 22nd 2016
    I've got an old LP of Gould playing some of Handel's keyboard suites on harpsichord. He does a very good job, particularly with humming out of tune as he's playing. A more emotional performance than, say, Leonhardt.