‘I Am’ by Sylvia Plath


[  # 75 of My Favourite Short Poems  ]

SylviaPlath



‘I took a deep breath

and listened to the old brag of my heart:

I am,

I am,

I am.’


 

Today’s offering is not, strictly speaking a poem.  It is a very short, one sentence, quotation from theThe Bell Jar’, (written under the pseudonym, ‘Victoria Lucas’), the only novel ever written by the American poet, Sylvia Plath, who committed suicide, aged 30, shortly after its publication in 1963.

I am using it today as its introspection does mirror that of John Clare, whose ‘I Am’ verses I featured a week ago.  Both Clare and Plath were troubled beings, suffering for long periods of their lives from severe mood swings and depression.

In this one sentence from her novel, Sylvia Plath, cries out with similar force to that which John Clare was expressing in his poem, for the self-belief and recognition which both felt had eluded them . . .  ‘I AM! yet what I am who cares, or knows?’ 

 

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11 thoughts on “‘I Am’ by Sylvia Plath

  1. From the first time I read her words (eons ago) to today…she always speaks to me…I always relate to her.
    Gone from the world too soon. 😦
    I hope, somehow, she knows how many people her words have touched, how many people learned from her, etc. Oh, I hope where she is she can know all of this and more.
    We all want (and need) people to acknowledge us and accept us.
    HUGS!!! 🙂

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  2. Thank you Roland for bringing up the life and work of Sylvia Plath. I do admire her and feel she
    fought hard to overcome a darkness within. Her childhood wasn’t easy emotionally but there
    is more to her troubled mind. She certainly is an excellent writer and poet.

    Your quotation above from ‘Bell Jar’ made me go back and read her poem ‘ Cardiology ‘. Both
    listening and talking about the heart.
    It is tragic when the dark overshadows the light like in her case and so many others.
    Miriam

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  3. Interesting words and thoughts to get the week underway Roland. I often wonder if the ability of some poets is linked to how their brains are wired and they are able to access areas of creativity others cannot. The history of poetry is littered with poets who lived on the cusp between brilliance and mental illness / addiction. This also applies to many other areas of art.

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    • There appear to be relatively few truly creative artists whose lives have not been a huge struggle. If I were to suffer from depressive thoughts, which I thankfully don’t, I would say that I have never been through the anguish which might produce any great insights into the nature of life or of art. . . . but that, Davy, is in itself a depressing thought, is it not!?

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      • It is an interesting one Roland. I think you could add to that education and privilege which seems to have been the access to
        poetry publishing houses through the years. I often think where some of our great poets would have been if they did not have the finance and resources to publish their poetry.

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      • . . . I agree. Davy, or were unable to find a patron to set them on the road to acceptance. Of course, many good artists were not ‘discovered’ until after their deaths, and there must be many more whose talents were great but who, for one reason or another, have never been and never will be, ‘discovered’.

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      • A good point Roland and disheartening to know, as a poet, the time after your death is when you work may be read the most.

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