Sylvia Plath

Point Shirley

From Water-Tower Hill to the brick prison The shingle booms, bickering under The sea's collapse. Snowcakes break and welter. This year The gritted wave leaps The seawall and drops onto a bier Of quahog chips, Leaving a salty mash of ice to whiten In my grandmother's sand yard. She is dead, Whose laundry snapped and froze here, who Kept house against What the sluttish, rutted sea could do. Squall waves once danced Ship timbers in through the cellar window; A thresh-tailed, lanced Shark littered in the geranium bed --- Such collusion of mulish elements She wore her broom straws to the nub. Twenty years out Of her hand, the house still hugs in each drab Stucco socket The purple egg-stones: from Great Head's knob To the filled-in Gut The sea in its cold gizzard ground those rounds. Nobody wintering now behind The planked-up windows where she set Her wheat loaves And apple cakes to cool. What is it Survives, grieves So, battered, obstinate spit Of gravel? The waves' Spewed relics clicker masses in the wind, Grey waves the stub-necked eiders ride. A labor of love, and that labor lost. Steadily the sea Eats at Point Shirley. She died blessed, And I come by Bones, only bones, pawed and tossed, A dog-faced sea. The sun sinks under Boston, bloody red. I would get from these dry-papped stones The milk your love instilled in them. The black ducks dive. And though your graciousness might stream, And I contrive, Grandmother, stones are nothing of home To that spumiest dove. Against both bar and tower the black sea runs.

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