Love Is A Parallax by Sylvia Plath

 ‘Perspective betrays with its dichotomy:

train tracks always meet, not here, but only

 in the impossible mind’s eye;

horizons beat a retreat as we embark

on sophist seas to overtake that mark

 where wave pretends to drench real sky.

‘Well then, if we agree, it is not odd

that one man’s devil is another’s god

 or that the solar spectrum is

a multitude of shaded grays; suspense

on the quicksands of ambivalence

 is our life’s whole nemesis.

So we could rave on, darling, you and I,

until the stars tick out a lullaby

 about each cosmic pro and con;

nothing changes, for all the blazing of

our drastic jargon, but clock hands that move

 implacably from twelve to one.

We raise our arguments like sitting ducks

to knock them down with logic or with luck

 and contradict ourselves for fun;

the waitress holds our coats and we put on

the raw wind like a scarf; love is a faun

 who insists his playmates run.

Now you, my intellectual leprechaun,

would have me swallow the entire sun

 like an enormous oyster, down

the ocean in one gulp: you say a mark

of comet hara-kiri through the dark

 should inflame the sleeping town.

So kiss: the drunks upon the curb and dames

in dubious doorways forget their monday names,

 caper with candles in their heads;

the leaves applaud, and santa claus flies in

scattering candy from a zeppelin,

 playing his prodigal charades.

The moon leans down to took; the tilting fish

in the rare river wink and laugh; we lavish

 blessings right and left and cry

hello, and then hello again in deaf

churchyard ears until the starlit stiff

 graves all carol in reply.

Now kiss again: till our strict father leans

to call for curtain on our thousand scenes;

 brazen actors mock at him,

multiply pink harlequins and sing

in gay ventriloquy from wing to wing

 while footlights flare and houselights dim.

Tell now, we taunq where black or white begins

and separate the flutes from violins:

 the algebra of absolutes

explodes in a kaleidoscope of shapes

that jar, while each polemic jackanapes

 joins his enemies’ recruits.

The paradox is that ‘the play’s the thing’:

though prima donna pouts and critic stings,

 there burns throughout the line of words,

the cultivated act, a fierce brief fusion

which dreamers call real, and realists, illusion:

 an insight like the flight of birds:

Arrows that lacerate the sky, while knowing

the secret of their ecstasy’s in going;

 some day, moving, one will drop,

and, dropping, die, to trace a wound that heals

only to reopen as flesh congeals:

 cycling phoenix never stops.

So we shall walk barefoot on walnut shells

of withered worlds, and stamp out puny hells

 and heavens till the spirits squeak

surrender: to build our bed as high as jack’s

bold beanstalk; lie and love till sharp scythe hacks

 away our rationed days and weeks.

Then jet the blue tent topple, stars rain down,

and god or void appall us till we drown

 in our own tears: today we start

to pay the piper with each breath, yet love

knows not of death nor calculus above

 the simple sum of heart plus heart.

Categories: Literature