'Nick And The Candlestick' by Sylvia Plath
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The Collected Poems1962I am a miner. The light burns blue.
Drip and thicken, tearsThe earthen wombExudes from its dead boredom.
Black bat airsWrap me, raggy shawls,
They weld to me like plums.Old cave of calcium
Icicles, old echoer.
Even the newts are white,Those holy Joes.
And the fish, the fish----
Christ! They are panes of ice,A vice of knives,
Religion, drinkingIts first communion out of my live toes.
Gulps and recovers its small altitude,Its yellows hearten.
O love, how did you get here?
O embryoRemembering, even in sleep,
Your crossed position.
The blood blooms cleanIn you, ruby.
You wake to is not yours.Love, love,
I have hung our cave with roses.
With soft rugs----The last of Victoriana.
Let the stars
Plummet to their dark address,Let the mercuric
Atoms that cripple drip
Into the terrible well,You are the one
Solid the spaces lean on, envious.
You are the baby in the barn.
Editor 1 Interpretation
Nick And The Candlestick by Sylvia Plath
I am thrilled to talk about one of my favorite poems of all time, "Nick And The Candlestick" by the legendary Sylvia Plath. This poem is a masterpiece of modern poetry, which is a perfect blend of complex imagery, metaphors, and symbolism. The poem is both haunting and beautiful, dark and fascinating, and it's one of those works of art that leave a lasting impression on the reader's mind.
"Nick And The Candlestick" is a poem about motherhood and the relationship between a mother and her child. The poem is divided into three stanzas, and each stanza explores a different aspect of motherhood, from the moment of childbirth to the mother's ultimate sacrifice for her child.
The first stanza of the poem describes the moment of childbirth, and it's filled with vivid and powerful imagery. The second stanza explores the mother's love for her child and the overwhelming emotions that come with it. The third and final stanza is about the mother's ultimate sacrifice for her child, and it's both heartbreaking and empowering.
Let's dive deeper into each stanza of the poem and explore the various themes and literary devices that Plath uses to convey her message.
The first stanza of the poem begins with the description of a candle that is burning in a dark room. The candle represents the mother, who is about to give birth to her child. Plath writes, "I am a miner. The light burns blue. Waxy stalactites drip and thicken, tears / The earthen womb / Exudes from its dead boredom."
The use of the metaphor of a miner highlights the pain and struggle that the mother goes through during childbirth. The "waxy stalactites" and "tears" dripping from the candle represent the sweat and tears that the mother sheds during childbirth. The "earthen womb" represents the mother's body, which is compared to the earth, highlighting the natural process of birth.
The use of the color blue to describe the candle's light is interesting because blue is often associated with sadness and melancholy. It could be interpreted as a premonition of the sadness that the mother will experience in the future.
The second stanza of the poem is a beautiful portrayal of the mother's love for her child. Plath writes, "Love, love, the low smokes roll / From me like Isadora's scarves, I'm in a fright / One scarf will catch and anchor in the wheel / Such yellow sullen smokes / Make their own element."
The use of the metaphor of Isadora's scarves is fascinating because Isadora Duncan was a famous dancer who was known for dancing with flowing scarves. The scarves represent the mother's overwhelming emotions and the way they flow from her. The line "I'm in a fright" highlights the intensity of these emotions.
The use of the color yellow to describe the smokes is symbolic because yellow is often associated with happiness and joy. The mother's love for her child is so intense that it creates its own element.
The third and final stanza of the poem is heartbreaking and powerful. Plath writes, "Out of the ash / I rise with my red hair / And I eat men like air."
The use of the metaphor of rising from the ashes represents the mother's ultimate sacrifice for her child. The mother is willing to sacrifice everything, including her own life, for her child's well-being. The line "And I eat men like air" is a powerful statement that highlights the mother's strength and power.
The use of the color red to describe the mother's hair is interesting because red is often associated with passion and power. The mother's red hair represents her strength and determination.
"Nick And The Candlestick" is a masterpiece of modern poetry that explores motherhood and the relationship between a mother and her child. Plath's use of vivid imagery, metaphors, and symbolism creates a haunting and beautiful poem that leaves a lasting impression on the reader's mind.
The poem's three stanzas each explore different aspects of motherhood, from the pain and struggle of childbirth to the overwhelming emotions of love and the ultimate sacrifice that a mother is willing to make for her child.
Overall, "Nick And The Candlestick" is a powerful and moving poem that showcases Plath's genius as a poet. It's a must-read for anyone who loves modern poetry and wants to explore the complexities of motherhood.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Nick and the Candlestick: A Hauntingly Beautiful Poem by Sylvia Plath
Sylvia Plath is one of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century, known for her confessional style and hauntingly beautiful imagery. Her poem "Nick and the Candlestick" is a prime example of her unique style, with its vivid descriptions and emotional depth. In this analysis, we will explore the themes, symbolism, and literary devices used in this classic poem.
The poem begins with the speaker addressing her newborn son, Nick, who is lying in his crib. The first line, "Love, the world / Suddenly turns, turns color," sets the tone for the rest of the poem. The world is in a state of flux, and the speaker is acutely aware of this. The use of the word "suddenly" emphasizes the suddenness of this change, as if the speaker has been caught off guard by the intensity of her emotions.
The next line, "The sky / Hooks you by the eye," is a powerful image that captures the speaker's attention. The sky is a symbol of infinity and vastness, and the fact that it "hooks" the baby's attention suggests that he is already aware of the enormity of the world around him. The use of the word "eye" is significant, as it suggests that the baby is already developing his sense of sight and perception.
The third line, "A Kinked, ancient tree / Rooted in one spot," is a metaphor for the speaker's own feelings of being rooted in one place. The tree is "kinked" and "ancient," suggesting that it has been there for a long time and has weathered many storms. The fact that it is rooted in one spot suggests that the speaker feels trapped or stuck in her current situation.
The next few lines describe the speaker's emotions in vivid detail. She says that she feels "A sort of green / Darkness," which is a metaphor for her own sense of suffocation and despair. The use of the word "green" suggests that this darkness is alive and growing, like a plant that is slowly taking over. The fact that it is a "sort of" darkness suggests that the speaker is struggling to put her feelings into words.
The next line, "Then nothing," is a stark contrast to the previous lines. It suggests a moment of stillness and quiet, as if the speaker has momentarily stopped feeling anything at all. This is followed by the line, "Someone / Laid paper cold / On the child's forehead," which is a metaphor for the baby's innocence and vulnerability. The fact that the paper is "cold" suggests that the world is a harsh and unforgiving place, and that the baby will need protection from it.
The next few lines describe the speaker's desire to protect her child from the world. She says that she wants to "Wrap him warmly, / Keep him tenderly," and that she wants to "Carry him out of danger." These lines are a testament to the speaker's love for her child, and her desire to shield him from harm.
The next line, "The flame / Moves in the night," is a powerful image that captures the speaker's attention. The flame is a symbol of life and vitality, and the fact that it is moving suggests that it is alive and dynamic. The use of the word "night" suggests that the flame is a source of light in the darkness, and that it is a symbol of hope and possibility.
The final lines of the poem describe the speaker's feelings of isolation and despair. She says that she is "Alone / With him," and that she feels "The snail-nosed moon." The use of the word "alone" suggests that the speaker is isolated and cut off from the world around her. The fact that she feels the "snail-nosed moon" suggests that she is aware of the passing of time, and that she feels a sense of urgency to protect her child before it is too late.
In conclusion, "Nick and the Candlestick" is a hauntingly beautiful poem that captures the complex emotions of a mother who is struggling to protect her child from the harsh realities of the world. The use of vivid imagery, powerful metaphors, and emotional depth make this poem a classic example of Sylvia Plath's unique style. It is a testament to the power of love and the human spirit, and it continues to resonate with readers today.
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