Child -Sylvia Plath

Your clear eye is the one absolutely beautiful thing.
I want to fill it with color and ducks,
The zoo of the new

Whose name you meditate --
April snowdrop, Indian pipe,
Little

Stalk without wrinkle,
Pool in which images
Should be grand and classical

Not this troublous
Wringing of hands, this dark
Ceiling without a star.

It was sad to read in skoool.ie notes that Sylvia Plath died two weeks after writing this poem.

Marie-Thérèse O’Loughlin

Child
Silvia Plath [1932-1963]

Relevant Background

  • Sylvia Plath was born in Boston USA and grew up in a comfortable middle-class home.
  • She went to university in Boston and Cambridge, England. Plath was an excellent student. She suffered a nervous breakdown in college. She recovered but depression remained a big problem for her.
  • Many of her poems are a terrifying record of her depression.
  • At Cambridge University she met and married the British poet Ted Hughes. They settled in England and had two children. Then the marriage ended.
  • ‘Child’ shows Plath’s tender feelings for her infant child and her mental illness.
  • She committed suicide at the age of thirty in 1963, two weeks after she wrote this poem.

Summary

In this poem, Sylvia Plath expresses tender love for her infant. She longs to satisfy her child’s yearning [longing] for beauty and fun in life. Plath then reveals her own bleak [miserable] mood…

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