Thursday, April 19, 2012

Paul Westerberg's Song for Sylvia Plath: "Crackle and Drag"

Thanks to Mike Danko, who keeps me updated on things Paul Westerbergian (all hail the Replacements), here's a song for Sylvia Plath (all hail Sylvia) in two very different versions.  The title, and the line, "her blacks crackle and drag," comes from Plath's poem, "Edge," published as the final poem in the Hughes-edited version of Ariel.  Westerberg's first version is manic, the second depressive--somehow I like the second one better, for its bleak poignancy.  But maybe the fact there are two, just as there are two versions of Ariel, just as there is bipolarity in the poet, makes a kind of absurd sense.

The woman is perfected.

Her dead
Body wears the smile of accomplishment,
The illusion of a Greek necessity
Flows in the scrolls of her toga,
Her bare
Feet seem to be saying:
We have come so far, it is over.
Each dead child coiled, a white serpent,
One at each little
Pitcher of milk, now empty.
She has folded
Them back into her body as petals
Of a rose close when the garden
Stiffens and odors bleed
From the sweet, deep throats of the night flower.
The moon has nothing to be sad about,
Staring from her hood of bone.
She is used to this sort of thing.
Her blacks crackle and drag.

No comments: