Sunday, August 19, 2007

Lady Lazarus

"Lady Lazarus" by Sylvia Plath

So, so, Herr Doktor,
So, Herr Enemy.
I am your opus,
I am your valuable,
The pure gold baby
That melts to a shreik.
I turn and burn.
Do not think I underestimate your great concern.
Ash, ash--
You poke and stir.
Flesh, bone, there is nothing there.

This poem was included in the current memoir I'm reading, Wasted. Marya Hornbacher, the author, periodically includes poems now and then that tie in with what she's going through and how she's feeling. This poem, however, stuck with me a little. I felt I'd include it here to see if anyone thought anything significant (or not) about the poem too.

Being a hospitalized patient, one might seem this, how do we say, isolated and empty. One is more of a subject that feels no worth inside instead of a real person. Mental hospitals must do this to people, make them feel like a test subject more than a person--not that the hospital is to blame. I don't know how else a psychiatric ward should be run in the least. But, I can only imagine the struggle of the patient, as Plath describes in the poem above, a severance from the self, possibly close to the experiences described in Girl, Interrupted.

Again, this poem is so cleverly written. As I commented before, some poems just use the perfect images to describe the overall message. I think Plath's images are well selected, crafting a crisp, eerie feeling to match her own.

Personally, Plath's life interests me. After writing the semi-autobiographical novel The Bell Jar, with the main character who has been suggested to mirror her own life, perhaps a closeted and hidden character that was supposed to be herself, Plath killed herself, just as the main character does in the novel. One can only imagine that the protagonist and the author shared the internal thoughts that were spelled out on the page. I bought Plath's journals and other writings, and I should go through it because it would be eerie and utterly interesting to page through. Writers of all kinds interest me deeply, for I like to see where different artists get their inspiration and their creative energy--some from pain, some from joy, some from madness, some from boredom, etc.

Where do you get your creative energy?

And, what comments do you have on the above poem, or Syliva Plath?

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