Thursday, November 20, 2014

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

The Songs of Eretz Poetry Review Poem of the Day for November 20, 2014 is "Ariel" by Sylvia Plath, Poet of the Month.  The text of the poem may be found here:  http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/178962.  A biography of Ms. Path and references may be found here:  http://eretzsongs.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-songs-of-eretz-poet-of-month-for.html.

"Ariel" is comprised of 31 lines arranged in ten stanzas of three lines each followed by a final one line stanza.  Many of the stanzas could be said to be formal tercets as some pairs are connected through rhyme, strong assonance, or strong consonance.  Many stanzas contain internal rhymes, consonances, and/or assonances.

The title means "lion of God" in Hebrew http://www.behindthename.com/name/ariel and is the name of an angel (pictured).  This is alluded to in the first line of the second stanza.

The first three stanzas appear to refer to the act of giving birth.  "Stasis" in the womb is followed by growing, pivoting to be ready for delivery, and finally the "furrow" or vagina "splits" to allow delivery.

The rest of the poem is enigmatic.  There is imagery of nakedness supported by reference to Lady Godiva (who rode through her town naked on horseback).  There is another allusion to childbirth, "the child's cry," in the eighth stanza.  And, of course, a reference to suicide.

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