You could have been a sea-god!
Neptune perhaps, with your forked trident
You’d rather drown than share your murderous air.
Thor’s thundering rage, your limbs clod as you deteriorate
Sea captain with a cockle-shell heart
Clamped shut as I pick off
I am a sea-girl
Wreathed in seaweed hair
And Neptune’s necklace
In your salt-swirl tempest.
You steer our vessel riding seaward on the waves
Until the clouds draw shut,
Your wavering soul
Swells with blackness.
The virgin moon laughs
As I hand-full the water
To scour you clean of the green pallid sheen
Your mind, vague and nebulous
Swims in its clouded depths.
Inky substance awakes.
I am stripped bare as your flesh melts away
Just as sanded stones erode on a stormy day.
Your heart as icy as your sea-blue eyes
No more my father than the monsters of the deep
Who linger in the chambers of the sea.
First place in the 2013 Mosman Youth Writes Poetry Award, Mosman Library.
This poem is part of an anthology that follows the life of Sylvia Plath, her relationship with her father and husband and her decline into suicide.
The poem is my imagined version of Sylvia’s reaction to her father’s sudden and preventable death in 1936.