by Sylvia Plath

For Ruth Fainlight I know the bottom, she says. I know it with my great tap root: It is what you fear. I do not fear it: I have been there. Is it the sea you hear in me, Its dissatisfactions? Or the voice of nothing, that was your madness? Love is a shadow. How you lie and cry after it Listen: these are its hooves: it has gone off, like a horse. All night I shall gallop thus, impetuously, Till your head is a stone, your pillow a little turf, Echoing, echoing. Or shall I bring you the sound of poisons? This is rain now, this big hush. And this is the fruit of it: tin-white, like arsenic. I have suffered the atrocity of sunsets. Scorched to the root My red filaments burn and stand, a hand of wires. Now I break up in pieces that fly about like clubs. A wind of such violence Will tolerate no bystanding: I must shriek. The moon, also, is merciless: she would drag me Cruelly, being barren. Her radiance scathes me. Or perhaps I have caught her. I let her go. I let her go Diminished and flat, as after radical surgery. How your bad dreams possess and endow me. I am inhabited by a cry. Nightly it flaps out Looking, with its hooks, for something to love. I am terrified by this dark thing That sleeps in me; All day I feel its soft, feathery turnings, its malignity. Clouds pass and disperse. Are those the faces of love, those pale irretrievables? Is it for such I agitate my heart? I am incapable of more knowledge. What is this, this face So murderous in its strangle of branches? - Its snaky acids hiss. It petrifies the will. These are the isolate, slow faults That kill, that kill, that kill.