Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Fog at Dusk is Crowded

The fog at dusk is crowded now;
The voices of dead poets a susurration
Round my head, and through me
Like uninvited guests determined
To see me home, or elsewhere...
Their resolution known to them alone

I start as a husky voice rasps
From out the dimness,
“Remember, All My Pretty Ones?”
Tis Anne Sexton’s voice, to be sure;
Just to think of her makes me smile ...
Even from beyond she sees it , and snaps,
“It wasn’t meant to amuse, my dear,”
I am about to protest, that I know ,
But resist talking to a spectre, for all that

When I feel chilly hands close
About my shoulders ;
I even look to see if they are there
Which, of course, they aren’t
Still, their clamminess is such,
I am tempted to pry off each cold finger
When a hollow chuckling in the mist
Is followed by Teasdale’s unmistakable lines,
“I shall have peace, as leafy trees are peaceful,
when rain bends down the bough...”

Sighing deeply, I do relax,
So fond I am of this fine poem –
The title of which, eludes,  
No wait  I Shall Not Care
Did that just come to me –
I know not, but again, am tense

Voices swirling ‘round ,and I, still know not
What direction I walk, nor why
When yet another disembodied voice speaks:  
“Ennui... designing futures where nothing will occur...”
Sylvia Plath slips her hand in mine,
In such comradely a fashion, I am taken aback;
Rumour had it she could be aloof

It dawns on me finally, as she quotes
The tiniest piece of her own work,
Just where I am and why,
And Plath, impassive, as  is to be expected
Since that damned Bell Jar success
And all that followed, or didn’t
Is nodding, touching my wrists affectionately,
Approving,  I suppose, of the unhealed
Slashes she’s observing;

Slashes that run deep and vertically,
A guarantee that I, a failed poetess,
Have succeeded at last in death
And earned the right to be amongst
This holy number, earned my place here
In the fog at dusk,
With all the dead poets whispering



  1. Holy cow, this is a phenomenal poem. A little dark to be sure, but that tends to be my preference anyway. I'm pretty sure that somewhere in the fog those dead poets are whispering their approval of this, outstanding job!!

  2. why is it poets have to die to become famous you know....but the dead poets whisper...i am rather fond of plath and what an interesting story she has...but how tragic that voices are silenced well before their time only so they can be heard...

  3. This is an amazing - and perhaps unprecedented - conceit! Haunted by dead poets! Taking that phrase quite literally, you weave a narrative that is enthralling, dark, and yet, of your own voice - in the end - redemptive.

  4. Teasdale, Plath....brings tears to my eyes when i think about the tragic stories and how they left us way too soon...great capture here...yes..def. hear them whisper..

  5. Wow! Very vivid and enthralling write! I could feel those cold clammy hands on my shoulders, hear the voices. Very, very nicely done!

  6. First off, my hat is off to anyone who can use the word susurration in such a beautiful context! This is a wonderful write - somehow all at once meditative, ironic and loving. So many don't know of their value as writers... If you are a failed poetess, then I hope someday to attain so high a mark!

  7. Wowzers! This one crept into my brain on little cat feet:) First, the fog, the sombre mood, the various poets, "with all the dead poets, whispering." This is really a spectacular poem - just so good! Anyone who can write a poem this good is definitely in company with the poets named. No such thing as a failed poetess, anyway, unless one stops writing:) Bravo! Loud applause from over here!

  8. hauntingly beautiful journey through mind and misted trees.

  9. This strikes me as a poem that came from a dream. You ended up in lovely company.

  10. A dark write of the journey of dead poets...and their whispering chilly ~ Nice one ~

  11. Oh, my. This is amazing, and bears reading again. And again.

  12. Thanks to all who came to join me in the fog with all the dead poets whispering ... it's interesting to read the different takes other poets have on this poem and always a pleasure when you come here, read, then express your feelings. Thanks again.