Courage is the price that Life exacts for granting peace,
The soul that knows it not knows no release from little things,
Knows not the livid loneliness of fear
Nor mountain heights where bitter joy can hear
The sound of wings.
How can Life grant us boon of living, compensate
For dull grey ugliness and pregnant hate
Unless we dare
The souls dominion? Each time we make a choice we pay
With courage to behold the restless day,
And count it fair.
Love set you going like a fat gold watch
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.
Our voice echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.
I'm no more your mother
Than the cloud that distils a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind's hand.
All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.
One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat's. The window square
Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.
I died for Beauty but was scarce
Adjusted in the Tomb
When One who died for Truth, was lain
In an adjoining Room
He questioned softly 'Why I faird'?
'For Beauty', replied
'And I for Truth Themself are One
We Brethren, are', He said
And so, as Kinsmen, met a Night
We talked between the Rooms
Until the Moss had reached our lips
and covered up our names
- Sylvia Plath, Collected Poems & A Choice of Emily Dickinson
Verse, both published by Faber & Faber.