Tag Archives: Sylvia Plath

When thinking hurts us

descartes

My title has two meanings.One is that sometimes we have to think about a painful event or a person who has hurt us.Or even some past events…I recall pain when  I was told about Hitler and Stalin

On the other hand some of us  use thinking in words as a way of blocking painful emotions.whilst this  may work for a time,it may give  a lot of trouble when we need to deal with pain.Essentially we do not wish to “know” the truth in the full sense… we deceive ourselves and maybe others too

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201110/the-essential-guide-defense-mechanisms

William Blake wrote this poem

Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine,
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.
It is right it should be so;
Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Through the world we safely go.

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I’ve been reading Sylvia Plath recently.I see that after her husband left her she went into a frenzy of activity.She had two very young children.was often i ll with flu but she wrote all her most famous poems at this time;then she moved to London antd socialised a lot to prove she was not just a deserted wife.After this she became more, ill,there was a severe winter….then she crashed into the depths…I feel that  her frenzied writing was a way of not admitting her grief… and she got worn out and decided death was better.

Some of us who are quite cerebral are not in touch with  our bodies.We don’t feel that knife in the heart,the tears unshed,the anger that threatens… and eventually this cam lead to problems.,sometimes flu sometimes a breakdown,sometimes a broken marriage.

and also the thinking can take on a life of its own so  it keeps us awake at night… and the feelings can come out in nightmares.

So thinking can  be a curse.We all need defences at times but too much cuts us of from our own lives.

And brooding and ruminating are very damaging to the mind and soul.Thinking is not wisdom

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A lovely poem that i am fond of

O sweet spontaneous

by: e.e. cummings (1894-1962)

sweet spontaneous
earth how often have
the
doting

fingers of
prurient philosophers pinched
and
poked

thee
, has the naughty thumb
of science prodded
thy

beauty, how
often have religions taken
thee upon their scraggy knees
squeezing and

buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive
gods
(but
true

to the incomparable
couch of death thy
rhythmic
lover

thou answerest

them only with

spring)

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Plath’s therapist was not actually trained as a pyschoanalyst

http://www.salon.com/2004/11/29/plath_therapist/

I know that psychoanalysts are not meant to tell patients what to do.So I was surprised this one did.. like telling her to get a divorce.Now I discover she had not even undergone her own analysis.

Make sure your therapist  is trained if you need one

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THE CAMBRIDGE INTRODUCTION TO SYLVIA PLATH

 There has more been written,probably, about Sylvia Plath than any other poet of the last century.Much of it is  various  attempts at her  biography.The focus was on her actual life and its events.I  had only read “Daddy” and “lady Lazarus” but lately I read more from her collected works and I am now impressed with her poetic gift and her hard work developing it.Perhaps she worked too hard.Who can say?
So I was ready to read some critical evaluation of her writing.This book is excellent if a little short. I found it quite easy to read even though I have no academic training in literature.

There is a summary of her life but the main focus is on each  phase of her writing For someone of  only 30  when she  died she underwent remarkable transitions and growth of her poetic mind.I am also now re ading her prose which I had dismissed.

I recommend this wholeheartedly.There is another volume “The Cambridge Companion to Sylvia Plath”

Here is a poem I like especially the last verse

Nick and the Candlestick

By Sylvia Plath

I am a miner. The light burns blue.
Waxy stalactites
Drip and thicken, tears
The earthen womb
Exudes from its dead boredom.
Black bat airs
Wrap me, raggy shawls,
Cold homicides.
They weld to me like plums.
Old cave of calcium
Icicles, old echoer.
Even the newts are white,
Those holy Joes.
And the fish, the fish—
Christ! they are panes of ice,
A vice of knives,
A piranha
Religion, drinking
Its first communion out of my live toes.
The candle
Gulps and recovers its small altitude,
Its yellows hearten.
O love, how did you get here?
O embryo
Remembering, even in sleep,
Your crossed position.
The blood blooms clean
In you, ruby.
The pain
You wake to is not yours.
Love, love,
I have hung our cave with roses,
With soft rugs—
The last of Victoriana.
Let the stars
Plummet to their dark address,
Let the mercuric
Atoms that cripple drip
Into the terrible well,
You are the one
Solid the spaces lean on, envious.
You are the baby in the barn.
 

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