Sylvia Plath

The Burnt-out Spa

An old beast ended in this place: A monster of wood and rusty teeth. Fire smelted his eyes to lumps Of pale blue vitreous stuff, opaque As resin drops oozed from pine bark. The rafters and struts of his body wear Their char of karakul still. I can't tell How long his carcass had foundered under The rubbish of summers, the black-leaved falls. Now little weeds insinuate Soft suede tongues between his bones. His armorplate, his toppled stones Are an esplanade for crickets. I pick and pry like a doctor or Arch├Žologist among Iron entrails, enameled bowl, The coils and pipes that made him run. The small dell eats what ate it once. And yet the ichor of the spring Proceeds clear as it ever did From the broken throat, that marshy lip. It flows off below the green and white Balustrade of a sag-backed bridge. Leaning over, I encounter one Blue and improbable person Framed in a basketwork of cattails. O she is gracious and austere, Seated beneath the toneless water! It is not I, it is not I. No animal spoils on her green doorstep. And we shall never enter there Where the durable ones keep house. The stream that hustles us Neither nourishes nor heals.

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