Sylvia Plath

Two Sisters Of Persephone

Two girls there are : within the house One sits; the other, without. Daylong a duet of shade and light Plays between these. In her dark wainscoted room The first works problems on A mathematical machine. Dry ticks mark time As she calculates each sum. At this barren enterprise Rat-shrewd go her squint eyes, Root-pale her meager frame. Bronzed as earth, the second lies, Hearing ticks blown gold Like pollen on bright air. Lulled Near a bed of poppies, She sees how their red silk flare Of petaled blood Burns open to the sun's blade. On that green alter Freely become sun's bride, the latter Grows quick with seed. Grass-couched in her labor's pride, She bears a king. Turned bitter And sallow as any lemon, The other, wry virgin to the last, Goes graveward with flesh laid waste, Worm-husbanded, yet no woman.

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