The legendary Sylvia Plath is the focus of our penultimate poetry prompt. Choosing one of her inspiring poems from the Plath Poetry Project’s Calendar, we are to own our poetic offering which responds to or engages with the original. Feeling full of late Spring, I was drawn to Plath’s “Poppies in July” (featured below) and got carried away with the buttercups which have spread like wildfire here in recent weeks.
Long and thin your tender stalks
Upturned your yellow heads
As I pass by you on my walk
To your cute cups I’m led
Uncanny how in recent weeks
Your shoots have multiplied
Your long necks elegant and sleek
As you shine side by side
The dandelions now fluffy tops
Their wilting leaves look dry
But your growth spurt cannot be stopped
Your butter melts my eyes
And my soul feeds on your wild seeds
You long, light pick-me-ups
How dare they ever call you weeds!
Bright banks of buttercups
Poppies in July – Sylvia Plath
Little poppies, little hell flames,
Do you do no harm?
You flicker. I cannot touch you.
I put my hands among the flames. Nothing burns
And it exhausts me to watch you
Flickering like that, wrinkly and clear red, like the skin of a mouth.
A mouth just bloodied.
Little bloody skirts!
There are fumes I cannot touch.
Where are your opiates, your nauseous capsules?
If I could bleed, or sleep! –
If my mouth could marry a hurt like that!
Or your liquors seep to me, in this glass capsule,
Dulling and stilling.
But colorless. Colorless.