Plath Impressions

Plath Impressions

A Poem by jacob erin-cilberto

Plath Impressions



gaslight shelter

a picture of serenity forever moving

a brooch of faith


like the trust

in her poetry man


engaged to his writing

even after divorced from his arrogance


"Yeats lived here"

a sign she polishes daily

with pride


her own words

she critiques 

proclaiming that she is writing her best stuff ever

her name will be made


her children dash about 

a light in their eye

but a flash

of regret in hers


dust covered bills stacked in an attic of neglect

cold house

cold bed

cold dread

fingers burnt from ash

the smoker's cough aligning 

with the unsteady pen

writing letters to a mother who's deaf to the extinguishing light


Sylvia's Mother says...Sylvia's crying

but all her hankies are too soaked to lend

Sylvia's reading Ted as she lights the stove


the blankets a roadblock to the traffic's scent

pressed to service under the door to the playroom


they never hear her die

she no longer hears them cry


her babies wake to her gone-ness

read some of her poetry years later



a son follows

a daughter mourns them both


and Ted still gets rave reviews

and they all bow to his greatness

while flowers wilt and blow away

once pressed against a headstone


and a new sign now says

"Yeats lived here, and so did Sylvia"





© 2019 jacob erin-cilberto

My Review

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This is the most detailed & expressive thing I've ever read about S.P. In my opinion, her legacy has almost become cartoonized as a simple caricature dominated by horrific details, but rarely reflecting a tangible, vulnerable being with spirit. This poem does that -- presents her palpable humanity. Good on you for that! (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

Posted 1 Day Ago

jacob erin-cilberto

1 Day Ago

thank you, Margie...i have a strong attachment to Sylvia having done my Masters Thesis on her and Se.. read more
beautiful, j. they would both be proud of this fine expressive dance, you've done a few Sylvia poems, she is obviously a great inspiration, the weave of your words give away your influences, great, great poem,

Posted 2 Weeks Ago

jacob erin-cilberto

2 Weeks Ago

thank gram, yes, a favorite, an influence and she and Sexton the subjects of my Master Thesis many y.. read more
I have loved so many unobtainables... persons or concepts and know the sting of the unrequited intimately. I have often have come to the question, is it the thing or is it the quality of unobtainable that strikes my longing? Is it in these throws that make the create so poignant in our writes and artistry I often wonder... I used to joke that "I have no qualms with life" makes for rather boring poetry in reference to artists that stop producing great work:) Of course I know that to not be true now but I can't help but think that the suffering that Sylvia had be it from circumstance or mental illness played a role in her artistry that we wouldn't have seen had it been different for her.

Posted 2 Weeks Ago

Robert Trakofler (Bad Bunny)

2 Weeks Ago

Jesus I got so caught up in my thought flow I forgot to mention how much I enjoyed this write... sor.. read more
jacob erin-cilberto

2 Weeks Ago

i definitely agree, bunny...i don't think that artistry would have been there....she always said tha.. read more
She was a flame too soon extinguished. It's hard to believe she was only 30 years old when she died. Sadder still that her son hanged himself later in life. I have the book, "Birthday Letters" by Ted Hughes. It contains poems that he wrote to her over a period of more than twenty-five years, the first beginning a few years after her death. He died of cancer months after its publication. While many blamed him for her death and he was a b*****d for sure, I do believe that he cared very deeply for her. It can be very difficult living with someone with mental illness and depression, and I'm sure it wasn't always easy for him. Then, on top of Sylvia's suicide, his mistress killed herself and their four-year-old daughter as well. It must have really pushed him into a dark corner. Life is complicated, and depression is hell.

Posted 3 Weeks Ago

jacob erin-cilberto

3 Weeks Ago

yes, life is so complicated...I have "Birthday Letters"
to's too little too late...i d.. read more
Just read another poem about Sylvia..such a sad plight in life for a lady of her talent..a nd dreadful ending
wonderfully descriptive piece here..

Posted 3 Weeks Ago

jacob erin-cilberto

3 Weeks Ago

thank you for your kind words, Fran.
J., sadly Sylvia created the impression and images most hold today. Whether fate or something else, she immersed herself in darkness, almost like she turned herself inside out, shutting out everyone, though she acted engaged and happy at times. I've also wondered if she'd turned out differently today, less of that "good ole boy" network, which seemed particularly strong in the 1950s. She would've had more visibility today and arguably more support from contemporaries. This is one of the best I've read that so succinctly and honestly captures this brilliant writer and broken human.

Posted 3 Weeks Ago

jacob erin-cilberto

3 Weeks Ago

yes, she once proclaimed about the male dominance in poetry..." i can write my own bad metaphors"---.. read more
This is haunting and beautiful work, Jacob. You’ve captured something important here. I don’t know a lot about Ted Hughes. I’ve read a little of his work, and know some of his bio, but that’s about it.

It’s so complex though. I think of her Lady Lazarus poem and think the darkness was always in her. Perhaps Ted was drawn to that in women, but didn’t have the character to stay in the darkness long term, or to bring light to the darkness. I don’t know. Having suffered from depression most of my life, I know that no one person can tip the scales either way. The internals are a constantly shifting tide.

It’s painful to think about her life though. To wonder what could have been done. And knowing that one of her children went on to follow in her footsteps is devastating. We create cycles, or we are born into them, and we just don’t have the power to escape them.

Thank you for sharing this empathetic portrait which also opens up a dialogue by posing some interesting questions. Even if she had known what her poetry would one day mean, I’m not sure it would have changed anything for her. It’s tragic, really.

Posted 3 Weeks Ago

jacob erin-cilberto

3 Weeks Ago

and not sure she could have been helped away from the Sexton said..."store them in t.. read more
Can there be a more tragic setting than this? I don't believe I have ever seen a movie based on these episodes, but there certainly is drama and pathos aplenty. Ted was an arrogant SOB no doubt and Sylvia was a tortured soul ... the cheating didn't help.
I have a book of Ted's poetry that I revisit now and then ... can't really understand how he became Poet Laureate in England ... but the poem he wrote that described their relationship and her suicide ... which I believe was published after his death bordered on brilliant ... as does your work here.

Good job j.

Posted 3 Weeks Ago

jacob erin-cilberto

3 Weeks Ago

thank you for your kind review, Ted...
yes, arrogant...and he may have been brilliant...i hav.. read more
Ted Kniffen

3 Weeks Ago

I will check that out.
When I go to Cambridge - I often call in the museum of Anthropology and Aecheaology- mainly because they have some amazing artifacts and it is on the way to the Fitzwilliam my base museum for the ;ast fifty plus years. In the aforementioned location they have a Roman coffin hewn from a lump of rock - as I pass it I often halt for this is the dame coffin decades ago that Sylivia Plath stoof in fron of and she turned her impressions into verse. A poignant moment of Homage from me.

Posted 3 Weeks Ago

jacob erin-cilberto

3 Weeks Ago

wow, that is so cool that were standing in the spot where Sylvia once stood...
yes, our impre.. read more
I have read some of her work and I hope to read more soon. It’s very impressive. Her life was tragic as was that of so many famed writers and poets. Makes me wonder always if brilliance and melancholy go together. Great impressions of Plath here, Jacob.

Posted 3 Weeks Ago

jacob erin-cilberto

3 Weeks Ago

sometimes it seems they do...thank you for your insights, DIVYA,

3 Weeks Ago

You’re welcome my friend.

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14 Reviews
Shelved in 2 Libraries
Added on November 11, 2019
Last Updated on November 11, 2019


jacob erin-cilberto
jacob erin-cilberto

Carbondale, IL

Originally from Bronx, NY, I live in Carbondale, Illinois...teach English at two community colleges and have been writing and publishing poetry since 1970. Friending works two ways. If we have had .. more..


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