Sylvia Plath





The Ghost's Leavetaking

Enter the chilly no-man's land of about 
Five o'clock in the morning, the no-color void 
Where the waking head rubbishes out the draggled lot
Of sulfurous dreamscapes and obscure lunar conundrums 
Which seemed, when dreamed, to mean so profoundly much,

Gets ready to face the ready-made creation 
Of chairs and bureaus and sleep-twisted sheets. 
This is the kingdom of the fading apparition, 
The oracular ghost who dwindles on pin-legs 
To a knot of laundry, with a classic bunch of sheets

Upraised, as a hand, emblematic of farewell. 
At this joint between two worlds and two entirely 
Incompatible modes of time, the raw material 
Of our meat-and-potato thoughts assumes the nimbus 
Of ambrosial revelation. And so departs.
 
Chair and bureau are the hieroglyphs 
Of some godly utterance wakened heads ignore:
 So these posed sheets, before they thin to nothing, 
Speak in sign language of a lost otherworld, 
A world we lose by merely waking up.
 
Trailing its telltale tatters only at the outermost 
Fringe of mundane vision, this ghost goes 
Hand aloft, goodbye, goodbye, not down 
Into the rocky gizzard of the earth, 
But toward a region where our thick atmosphere

Diminishes, and God knows what is there. 
A point of exclamation marks that sky 
In ringing orange like a stellar carrot. 
Its round period, displaced and green, 
Suspends beside it the first point, the starting
 
Point of Eden, next the new moon's curve. 
Go, ghost of our mother and father, ghost of us, 
And ghost of our dreams' children, in those sheets 
Which signify our origin and end, 
To the cloud-cuckoo land of color wheels
 
And pristine alphabets and cows that moo 
And moo as they jump over moons as new 
As that crisp cusp towards which you voyage now. 
Hail and farewell. Hello, goodbye. O keeper 
Of the profane grail, the dreaming skull.