Saturday, 3 July 2010

Sylvia & Ted beyond the grave

The poem Sylvia & Ted beyond the grave is the next poem in a series of poems written by the dead poets on the other side. It's a fun game you can play at home, at college, or on the daily bus journey. It's a change from crossword puzzles.

The rules are very simple: only one line from any of the poet's, or in this case the poets', original poems allowed. There's not a great deal of bardic skill involved. The lines will almost pick themselves. It's a kind Ouija poetry without the board.

Simply flick through your falling-to-bits paperback of your favourite poet's 'selected' and choose the lines that appeal to your imagination. Underline them or make a note of them. When you have a few quiet minutes you can re-assemble them in some sort of logical order. A new poem, a poem from beyond the grave, will duly appear as if by magic.

Obviously when two dead poets are called upon to co-produce a poem from beyond the grave, it's theoretically at least, going to be a little bit more difficult. But, in the case of Plath and Hughes, the task was found to be relatively problem free. Here's the end result:

Sylvia & Ted beyond the grave

I am a miner. The light burns blue
Under the ancient burden of the hill.

Though for the years I have eaten dust
Of cockerels hung by the legs

The wind brings dust and nothing.
How long can I be a wall keeping the wind off?

I am as helpless as the sea at the end of her string.
It ruffles in its wallow, or lies sunning

Where the wireless talks to itself like an elderly relative
Till the whole sky dives shut like a burned land back to its spark

The sheep know where they are
That they are not afraid of the sun

A wet-footed god of the horizons
The obsolete house, the sea, flattened to a picture

And the fish, the fish -
Across the lightless filled-up space of water

Under the sweep of their robes
Tattooing over the same blue grievances

Under the ancient burden of the hill.
I am a miner. The light burns blue.

gw,sp,th 2010


  1. Interesting you say that.

    The result, as I now see it, is almost a kind of D H Lawrence passage from Sons & Lovers.

    Morel will now borrow a few coins from her purse and go down to the pub. The calm before the storm.

  2. Of course, it's Mrs Morel who is the eloquent one. He plays the pity poor me card when he needs some more beer money. It's a kind of eloquence too, I guess.

  3. What a great idea, would be good for our writing group to do.
    Sort of Dead Poets Society then?

  4. Hello Cait, yes I think it'd be a good group exercise. The Dead Poets Society? We're in touch! On PiR anyway.
    Thanks for dropping by.


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