Featured Poem: Mad Girl’s Love Song – Sylvia Plath

I don’t think this poem and its poetess need much introduction. Perhaps just a few words on why I love this piece. Though vastly different from Sylvia Plath’s latter works like Daddy, Fever 103, and Ariel, I think this piece is just as valuable as her most well-known poems. This early villanelle is one of her most structured works. To me, set Mad Girl’s Love Song beside any of her last poems and you can definitely see Plath’s progression as a poet.

That and I do love Sylvia Plath and villanelles.

 

Mad Girl’s Love Song

By Sylvia Plath (1951)

“I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;

I lift my lids and all is born again.

(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,

And arbitrary darkness gallops in:

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed

And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.

(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell’s fires fade:

Exit seraphim and Satan’s men:

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you’d return the way you said,

But I grow old and I forget your name.

(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;

At least when spring comes they roar back again.

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

(I think I made you up inside my head.)”

 

 

Image: Ophelia by John Everett Millais (1851/1852)

11 thoughts on “Featured Poem: Mad Girl’s Love Song – Sylvia Plath

  1. Strangely enough I have never read any Plath…how did that happen??? I love this poem from one reading though! Normally I have to really study a poem and fully understand it before I can really appreciate it but this one only took one reading! Thanks for sharing!

    1. You’re welcome Hannah! 🙂 Plath’s a great poet, so I highly recommend that you try her out. Along with Dorothy Parker and Anne Sexton. Glad you enjoyed the poem!

  2. Big admirer of the pre-Rahpaelites including Millay’s ‘Ophelia’. Allow me to remind the readers the reason why whole lines are repeated in villanelles written in English is that the language is considered “rhyme poor” as opposed to say a language like Italian. My own personal favorite villanelle is Dylan Thomas’ “Do Not Go Gently into that Good Night”.

    Best regards,
    Poeticmeditations

    1. Ophelia is a personal favorite from Millais. 🙂 As for “Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night”, I think it’s a masterpiece too. Definitely powerful. Thank you for the info on villanelles and best regards too!

  3. that picture of Ophelia hangs above my desk…ordered it from the Tate in London because it couldn’t be purchased anywhere else 15 yrs ago…love seeing here, with Plath espec…

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