Friday, November 21, 2014

Poem of the Day: "Blackberrying" by Sylvia Plath

The Songs of Eretz Poetry Review Poem of the Day for November 21, 2014 is "Blackberrying" by Sylvia Plath, Poet of the Month.  The text of the poem may be found here:  http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/178965.  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.

"Blackberrying" contains three free verse stanzas of nine lines each.  The rhythm is irregular.  There are occasional rhymes, and there is frequent use of enjambment.

"Blackberrying" could well be a perfectly innocent, uplifting, pastoral poem about a day spent picking blackberries along a meandering sheep path near the sea.  Sadly, the poem was composed by Sylvia Plath, so it is a safe bet that blackberrying is a metaphor for something sinister, such as death, suicide, and/or the oppression of women.  Hints that it is the latter may be found in the last stanza.

The wind slaps "phantom laundry" in the speaker's face, an intrusive reminder that the chore of doing her family's laundry hangs like a pall over her leisurely stroll.  The speaker follows a "sheep path," and who but sheep follow such a path?  Sheep serve as metaphor for women who blindly assume the role that society expects of them.

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