Mad Girl’s Love Song ~ Sylvia Plath

I created this spokenword video back in 2016… I was looking for a poem very different from my own writing.  I found a spoken word poem on a You Tube page by the Radio Theartre Group, the poem was Sylvia Plath’s ‘Lady Lazarus‘ read by Natalie Clark.  I had previously read Sylvia Plath’s poetry but didn’t find I fully related to her subjects.  But it’s amazing how after hearing a poem spoken extremely well with great emphasis, the kind of feeling and emotion Natalie Clark so expertly conveys in her reading, it completely changed my perception of Sylvia Plath and her poetry.  Perhaps hearing a human voice speaking the words is what makes the connection and turns what can be a cold poem into warm reality? 

I reread some of Sylvia’s poems, they began to speak to me in a much more vivid way.  Mad Girl’s Love Song stood out as a poem I might want to try reading, partly because of it’s popularity but also the poem intrigued me as to what it was about.  On the surface it appears to be about a failed relationship, a disappointment in a lover, at least that is what is generally assumed for the poem.  As I began to read it out loud for the recording I felt a little confused at what I was reading… phrases such as ‘God topples from the sky, hell’s fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan’s men‘.  I was literally trying to work out how those strong, slightly biblical statements had anything to do with disappointment in a lover. 

Something in the back of my mind didn’t feel right… I felt foolish reading a poem I was not entirely convinced of it’s true meaning.  I’ve never done that before.  I like to fully understand a poem so I can read it with the right emphasis.  I carried on reading,  ignoring the little voice telling me “you can’t read that, you don’t even know what it’s about!”🙄 

After reading it at least six times, it suddenly dawned on me what it could be about.  Maybe it was not about a human lover bitterly disappointing, but coming to a point in life where the belief in God no longer feels real.

God topples from the sky, hell’s fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan’s men
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you’d return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

Don’t worry… I’m not about go into any lengthy religious explanations, get into whether God is real or not, or suggest my theory on the meaning of the poem is 100% correct.  But just point out some interesting facts I discovered about Sylvia Plath that may make a bit more sense of my theory. 

After the mind blowing poetry reading experience, I searched online for a poetry analysis for ‘Mad Girl’s Love Song’.  I found the same kind of unconvincing explanation over and over… it was about Sylvia Plath’s disappointment in her marriage, or maybe an earlier relationship.  When I delved deeper to when the poem was published, I found she didn’t write it as late as I thought.  She wrote the poem in 1951, age 24, while attending Smith College.  It was first published in 1953 in a magazine called Mademoiselle.  She didn’t marry the poet Ted Hughes until 1956.  So the poem couldn’t possibly be about disappointment in her marriage.  It’s also interesting to note, at 8 years old Sylvia’s father unexpectedly died due to complications after surgery.  She experienced a loss of faith after her father’s death and remained ambivalent about religion throughout her life. (Quote from Wikipedia).

I can’t prove my theory is correct, but there is one thing I do know for sure… after waking up, seeing a deeper meaning, I was able to read the poem in a different way.  For a few minutes I felt that state of mind, the cold disappointed honesty in admitting something wholeheartedly believed might not to be true… they didn’t show up, and never would because it was just a comforting invention of the mind, a way of coping, and nothing more.

If you find the subject of interest and you want do some of your own research, you might find this analysis of the poem worth reading. I thought it was excellent, and had some slightly similar suggestions close to my own feelings on the meaning of Mad Girls Love Song.


I no longer have comments on my posts… I guess you’ve all noticed.  But don’t feel shut out, if you’d like to say something relating to this post… any post, or just drop by and say hello, you’re welcome to leave a message on my about page.

The next post will be my own poetry… just in case it looks like I’ve given up writing my own material.  No, not at all, I’ve just been busy with photography and… well, life! 😊

I Ask My Mother To Sing (Li-Young Lee)

She begins, and my grandmother joins her.
Mother and daughter sing like young girls.
If my father were alive, he would play
his accordion and sway like a boat.
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I’ve never been in Peking, or the Summer Palace,
nor stood on the great Stone Boat to watch
the rain begin on Kuen Ming Lake, the picnickers
running away in the grass.
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But I love to hear it sung;
how the waterlilies fill with rain until
they overturn, spilling water into water,
then rock back, and fill with more.
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Both women have begun to cry.
But neither stops her song.
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Li-Young Lee
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I’ve been reading the poetry of Li-Young Lee recently.  There is something truly beautiful about his writing.  Even though Li-Young Lee is a well known poet in America, I’ve not heard of his name or writing before.  While reading his poetry it spoke to me of an experienced poet, one who considers carefully about what he wants to convey in a deeply literary sense, but still manages to create poems anyone can relate to.  He writes a lot of his childhood and family which is a subject I’m often drawn to write about myself.
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After reading I Ask My Mother To Sing it reminded me of the water lily I captured in Plantation Garden, Norwich… I thought they would go well together.  I hope you enjoy the poem as much as I did.
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If you would like to read more of Li-Young Lee’s poetry you can find a selection at the Poetry Foundation.
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While looking up who this wonderful poet was I found an old video on You Tube where he reads some of his poems and talks a little about the background of his family and where he was born in Indonesia.

If you enjoyed this video you may also like this one too, where he reads another selection of his poetry at a public event at The University Of California.  If you’ve not heard of Li-Young Lee, the introductory is well worth a listen.

The Dangling Conversation ~ Simon & Garfunkel

Some time ago my SoundCloud friend Mark introduced me to The Dangling Conversation.  I thought I knew pretty much all of Simon and Garfunkel’s well known songs… but I was so wrong, I’d never heard this one.

I absolutely loved it and found myself drawn to listen to this delightful song again and again.  One day while listening, I realised it might make an interesting poem for one of my spoken word creations.  Here it is… with a simple video included.  I also uploaded a version to my SoundCloud page.

I find it very interesting to speak poetry that isn’t mine.  It helps form a different pattern in my mind on how to speak and how to write poems.  We all have patterns that are part of how we think, which is perfectly natural, but it’s good to introduce something different now and then.  It helps reduce limitations and expands the writer on the inside.

After I recorded my version of The Dangling Conversation I did some more research on the song and found a 1968 black and white film of a High School teacher reading the lyrics in the process of teaching her class poetry.  I thought it was absolutely wonderful to see that.  I love the way she saw those lyrics as pure poetry and not just a song… such a cool teacher! 

Below, is a short documentary with some of her pupils talking about memories of their English literature teacher Mrs Ashcraft and the 1968 documentary High School by Frederick Wiseman.

The Dangling Conversation is from Simon and Garfunkels Parsely, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme album.  If you’ve not heard it yet please visit You Tube for a free listen.  I have an original vinyl copy, it’s a beautiful album.

Mishmosh Poetry And Art

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I discovered this lovely lady speaking her poetry on SoundCloud some time ago.  I find her poetry inspiring and also very relaxing to listen to.  She has a huge selections of spoken word posts… these are some of her earlier posts.  Her collection of poetry will certainly keep the listener entertained for a long time.  Sit back and enjoy!

The beautiful colourful images she uses on her SoundCloud posts are all her own art.  You can find her Mishmosh Poetry and art on Facebook too.

Wedding Shoes

Kreg Steppe (CC)

It’s every little girls dream to know the feeling of importance, sophistication, and most of all, the high heeled elegance one pair of attractive shoes can deliver.

In my teens I had my share of stunning footwear, to know what it was like to effortlessly balance into infinite party hours on 41/2 inch shining pins and not flinch one bit as bones ached to be free.  I remember every beautiful pair.  But the one pair of shoes I loved most of all – were yours.

They hid in a gloomy corner at the bottom of your wardrobe, concealed by long dresses and heavy coats, never once seen on your feet.  I wondered why such pretty shoes should be condemned to shadows?

Pressing girlie feet into the toes of your divine shoes, I was Cinderella in glass slippers. Clumsy, teetering on falling, I clipped and flipped all the way from the bedroom to the kitchen, to demonstrate what you were missing.  Hands on hips, question marks in radiant eyes, I asked, “Mummy, are these your shoes?”  Your expression was a mixture of impending laughter and annoyance at the realisation of how clever your baby had become.   Hidden things would no longer be easy to keep to yourself.

You told me they were your wedding shoes.  I looked at your flat heeled sensible footwear and guessed those pretty shoes were a part of you I’d never know.  You would have liked to have told me to put them right back where I found them, but you were were too kind to say such things.

Jubilant at my discovery, I blundered my way round the house in wedding heels, wondering what kind of man I’d marry and if he… he’d like my shoes. 

I imagined living in London just like you, where traffic was never still, pavements filled with shoppers, and I… lady of the city, walked with confidence.

Just for one day, I borrowed the image of a beautiful woman I found in an old black and white photo, and walked in her shoes.

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My mother on holiday wearing those wedding shoes.

Did any of you girls clip around the house in your mothers shoes?

I don’t think I’ve ever heard of boys wearing their fathers shoes… so what is it boys do to feel like they could be their dad?


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The Snail’s CastleMark Gordon
Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk

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A Boat Beneath A Sunny Sky ~ Lewis Carroll (poetry collaboration with Mark Mayes)

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A boat, beneath a sunny sky
Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July

Children three that nestle near,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Pleased a simple tale to hear

Long has paled that sunny sky;
Echoes fade and memories die;
Autumn frosts have slain July.

Still she haunts me, phantomwise,
Alice moving under skies
Never seen by waking eyes.

Children yet, the tale to hear,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Lovingly shall nestle near.

In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die;

Ever drifting down the stream
Lingering in the golden gleam
Life, what is it but a dream?
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Image: Pixabay

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A few weeks ago one of my lovely WP photography pals feralc4t suggested I should try reading a Lewis Carroll poem.  It’s not often I take a suggestion and create something this quickly, as a lot of what I post here is planned months in advance.  I found Lewis Carroll’s poetry fascinating, but was concerned I wouldn’t be able to read most of his poems without tripping up over words or just finding it all too funny – especially the Jabberwocky!

I had a good read of Lewis Carroll’s poetry and was surprised when I came across this elegant melancholy poem with a mention of Alice.  At the time of discovering this poem I’d not read Alice Through The Looking Glass, I didn’t know the poem was included in the book.  It’s an acrostic poem spelling out Alice Pleasance Liddell .  You can read more about it on worlddreambank.org

I initially intended reading it myself, but then thought of an idea to make a unique spoken word version.  I asked my talented SoundCloud friend Mark Mayes if he would be interested in a collaboration with me.  I was thrilled when he said yes. I thought his wonderful rich voice would be an ideal contrast to mine.  The arrangement in our version is a suggestion that Alice is lingering in the background as a ghostly memory.  It was a bit of challenge to produce, but I was pleased with the result.

Mark has studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art  and worked in both theatre and television.  I had a great interest in theatre myself in my late teens and participated in amateur drama for over four years.  I haven’t done anything remotely like this since that time.  It’s been wonderful to create this little spoken word drama with Mark.


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41wYUC6FHHLThe Right Wrong Man
Pamela S Wight

Blue ~ Poetry Video

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Captur-00Recently I was asked by a writer friend on WattPad (also Mia Lotus on You Tube) if I’d like to be one of the poets for a charitable project website of hers (Songs For The Sea) to encourage and inspire us all to care more about the ocean. I wrote two ocean related poems and also decided to create a poetry video.  My lovely artist friend Karen Gadient created some beautiful ‘blue’ abstract art to go with the poem

Most of my videos on my You Tube page that are not my own film are free creative commons footage, but on this occasion I decided to purchase some pieces of short film from Shutterstock.  They have an amazing collection of film footage on Shutterstock, but it’s probably not something I’ll be spending much money on with future videos as it’s quite costly.

The point of my poetry video is to show how misguided it is to spend so much time and money on space projects in the hope of finding life when there is an abundance of life in the ocean, some of which has barely been explored. 

The ocean is a world within our world and is so crucial to the functioning of the planet we live on.  Space on the other hand, fascinating it may be, but I don’t feel it’s as relevant as the sea or important enough to be spending vast sums of public money in exploration that doesn’t appear to result in much at all. The sea these days seems to be turning into a convenient dumping ground – that’s just so wrong.  I wonder if another habitable planet was ever found, humans would just go and dump their garbage there too?

You can find more poets writing on (Songs For The Sea) under the poetry category and also a collection of talented singers and musicians. In January 2017 there will be a CD music compilation of all the singers and musicians listed. 

Also at some point an ebook of poetry will be published.  Both of those items will be sold in aid of charity.  If it interests you, then make sure to bookmark the website for future visits.

Please enjoy the video – it’s a bit of chill out poetry experience! 🙂