Sylvia Plath

The Snowman on the Moor

Stalemated their armies stood, with tottering banners: She flung from a room Still ringing with bruit of insults and dishonors And in fury left him Glowering at the coal-fire: ‘Come find me’—her last taunt. He did not come But sat on, guarding his grim battlement. By the doorstep Her winter-beheaded daisies, marrowless, gaunt, Warned her to keep Indoors with politic goodwill, not haste Into a landscape Of stark wind-harrowed hills and weltering mist; But from the house She stalked intractable as a driven ghost Across moor snows Pocked by rock-claw and rabbit-track: she must yet win Him to his knees— Let him send police and hounds to bring her in. Nursing her rage Through bare whistling heather, over stiles of black stone, To the world's white edge She came, and called hell to subdue an unruly man And join her siege. It was no fire-blurting fork-tailed demon Volcanoed hot From marble snow-heap of moor to ride that woman With spur and knout Down from pride's size: instead, a grisly-thewed, Austere, corpse-white Giant heaved into the distance, stone-hatcheted, Sky-high, and snow Floured his whirling beard, and at his tread Ambushed birds by Dozens dropped dead in the hedges: o she felt No love in his eye, Worse—saw dangling from that spike-studded belt Ladies' sheaved skulls: Mournfully the dry tongues clacked their guilt: ‘Our wit made fools Of kings, unmanned kings' sons: our masteries Amused court halls: For that brag, we barnacle these iron thighs.’ Throned in the thick Of a blizzard, the giant roared up with his chittering trophies. From brunt of axe-crack She shied sideways: a white fizz! and the giant, pursuing, Crumbled to smoke. Humbled then, and crying, The girl bent homeward, brimful of gentle talk And mild obeying.

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