“I shall never get you put together entirely … O father, all by yourself … “

Summer 2020. 21st century Western culture. Patriarchy. God. Ancient regimes? Privilege. Neo-liberalism. Black Lives. All Lives. Globalization. Statues … etc etc … so much going on … And yes, a ‘bad patriarchy’ has a lot to answer for. Sylvia Plath’s 1960 published poem ‘Colossus’ works on so many levels. Not just her very personal – and ultimately – tragic one. It’s very much our collective tragedy if we fail to learn its lessons.

Millions are still “married to shadow.” Millions still need liberating from that ‘shadow’ – and that liberation starts from deep within each and every one of us. Read ‘Colossus. – one of the truly great English language poems of the C20th. I wish that many protestors, activists, mob-members etc would ‘read, mark, learn and inwardly digest,’ Sylvia’s message! They too could then play their part in ‘growing’ democracy in our country.

I shall never get you put together entirely,
Pieced, glued, and properly jointed.
Mule-bray, pig-grunt and bawdy cackles
Proceed from your great lips.
It’s worse than a barnyard.

Perhaps you consider yourself an oracle,
Mouthpiece of the dead, or of some god or other.
Thirty years now I have labored
To dredge the silt from your throat.
I am none the wiser.

Scaling little ladders with glue pots and pails of lysol
I crawl like an ant in mourning
Over the weedy acres of your brow
To mend the immense skull plates and clear
The bald, white tumuli of your eyes.

A blue sky out of the Oresteia
Arches above us. O father, all by yourself
You are pithy and historical as the Roman Forum.
I open my lunch on a hill of black cypress.
Your fluted bones and acanthine hair are littered

In their old anarchy to the horizon-line.
It would take more than a lightning-stroke
To create such a ruin.
Nights, I squat in the cornucopia
Of your left ear, out of the wind,

Counting the red stars and those of plum-color.
The sun rises under the pillar of your tongue.
My hours are married to shadow.
No longer do I listen for the scrape of a keel
On the blank stones of the landing.

Sylvia Plath d 1963

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