Sylvia Plath

The Ghost's Leavetaking

Enter the chilly no-man's land of about Five o'clock in the morning, the no-color void Where the waking head rubbishes out the draggled lot Of sulfurous dreamscapes and obscure lunar conundrums Which seemed, when dreamed, to mean so profoundly much, Gets ready to face the ready-made creation Of chairs and bureaus and sleep-twisted sheets. This is the kingdom of the fading apparition, The oracular ghost who dwindles on pin-legs To a knot of laundry, with a classic bunch of sheets Upraised, as a hand, emblematic of farewell. At this joint between two worlds and two entirely Incompatible modes of time, the raw material Of our meat-and-potato thoughts assumes the nimbus Of ambrosial revelation. And so departs. Chair and bureau are the hieroglyphs Of some godly utterance wakened heads ignore: So these posed sheets, before they thin to nothing, Speak in sign language of a lost otherworld, A world we lose by merely waking up. Trailing its telltale tatters only at the outermost Fringe of mundane vision, this ghost goes Hand aloft, goodbye, goodbye, not down Into the rocky gizzard of the earth, But toward a region where our thick atmosphere Diminishes, and God knows what is there. A point of exclamation marks that sky In ringing orange like a stellar carrot. Its round period, displaced and green, Suspends beside it the first point, the starting Point of Eden, next the new moon's curve. Go, ghost of our mother and father, ghost of us, And ghost of our dreams' children, in those sheets Which signify our origin and end, To the cloud-cuckoo land of color wheels And pristine alphabets and cows that moo And moo as they jump over moons as new As that crisp cusp toward which you voyage now. Hail and farewell. Hello, goodbye. O keeper Of the profane grail, the dreaming skull.

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