Sunday, November 30, 2014

Poem of the Day: "Apprehensions" by Sylvia Plath, Poet of the Month

The Songs of Eretz Poetry Review Poem of the Day for November 30, 2014 is "Apprehensions" by Sylvia Plath, Poet of the Month.  The text of the poem may be found here:  A biography of Ms. Path and references may be found here:

"Apprehensions" consists of twenty lines of irregular free verse divided into four stanzas of five lines each.  The word "apprehensions" has three dictionary definitions:  1 anxiety or fear that something bad or unpleasant will happen; 2 understanding; grasp; and 3 the action of arresting someone.  The poem may be interpreted through one or more of these definitions.

Anxiety and fear pervade the poem.  The sun is described as "bleeding" in the first stanza.  In the second stanza, the wall is described as "clawed and bloody;" a metaphor compares the speaker's mood as that of a "spiral into a well;" "sourness" is used to describe the speaker's world.  In the third, the words "wince" and "fist" and "terror" are used.  The final stanza tells of ominous birds and blackness.

Despite the fear and anxiety, the speaker demonstrates a remarkable insight into the inner workings of the nightmarish world.  The speaker is aware of the wall, which changes color from white to grey to red to black.  In the first stanza, the speaker describes the ethereal realm in some detail and obviously feels a certain sense of belonging in it as evidenced by the line "they are my medium."

Finally, although perhaps a bit of a stretch, the poem may be seen as "arresting" or "stopping" the reader.  The reader must suspend his perception of the world in order to attempt to enter the mind and world of the poet.

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