Sylvia Plath





Lady Lazarus

I have done it again. 
One year in every ten 
I manage it-- 

A sort of walking miracle, my skin 
Bright as a Nazi lampshade, 
My right foot 

A paperweight, 
My face a featureless, fine 
Jew linen. 

Peel off the napkin 
O my enemy. 
Do I terrify?-- 

The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth? 
The sour breath 
Will vanish in a day. 

Soon, soon the flesh 
The grave cave ate will be 
At home on me 

And I a smiling woman. 
I am only thirty. 
And like the cat I have nine times to die. 

This is Number Three. 
What a trash 
To annihilate each decade. 

What a million filaments. 
The peanut-crunching crowd 
Shoves in to see 

Them unwrap me hand and foot-- 
The big strip tease. 
Gentlemen, ladies 

These are my hands 
My knees. 
I may be skin and bone, 

Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman. 
The first time it happened I was ten. 
It was an accident. 

The second time I meant 
To last it out and not come back at all. 
I rocked shut 

As a seashell. 
They had to call and call 
And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls. 

Dying 
Is an art, like everything else. 
I do it exceptionally well. 

I do it so it feels like hell. 
I do it so it feels real. 
I guess you could say I've a call. 

It's easy enough to do it in a cell. 
It's easy enough to do it and stay put. 
It's the theatrical 

Comeback in broad day 
To the same place, the same face, the same brute 
Amused shout: 

'A miracle!' 
That knocks me out. 
There is a charge 

For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge 
For the hearing of my heart-- 
It really goes. 

And there is a charge, a very large charge 
For a word or a touch 
Or a bit of blood 

Or a piece of my hair or my clothes. 
So, so, Herr Doktor. 
So, Herr Enemy. 

I am your opus, 
I am your valuable, 
The pure gold baby 

That melts to a shriek. 
I turn and burn. 
Do not think I underestimate your great concern. 

Ash, ash-- 
You poke and stir. 
Flesh, bone, there is nothing there-- 

A cake of soap,  
A wedding ring, 
A gold filling. 

Herr God, Herr Lucifer 
Beware 
Beware. 

Out of the ash 
I rise with my red hair 
And I eat men like air.