Sylvia Plath

Vanity Fair

Through frost-thick weather This witch sidles, fingers crooked, as if Caught in a hazardous medium that might Merely by its continuing Attach her to heaven. At eye's envious corner Crow's-feet copy veining on a stained leaf; Cold squint steals sky's color; while bruit Of bells calls holy ones, her tongue Backtalks at the raven Claeving furred air Over her skull's midden; no knife Rivals her whetted look, divining what conceit Waylays simple girls, church-going, And what heart's oven Craves most to cook batter Rich in strayings with every amorous oaf, Ready, for a trinket, To squander owl-hours on bracken bedding, Flesh unshriven. Against virgin prayer This sorceress sets mirrors enough To distract beauty's thought; Lovesick at first fond song, Each vain girl's driven To believe beyond heart's flare No fire is, nor in any book proof Sun hoists soul up after lids fall shut; So she wills all to the black king. The worst sloven Vies with best queen over Right to blaze as satan's wife; Housed in earth, those million brides shriek out. Some burn short, some long, Staked in pride's coven.

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