The Writer’s Life: “Re-reading Sylvia Plath: inside all the distress, there’s wonderful writing, as on February 25, 1952:”
Now read what she wrote that day, and in it you can feel the cold heat that grew and grew inside her; “Can you see, through the strange dark tunnel of cupped hands to the great Cyclops eye, blurred, staring, flecked, with one lightspot that grows and becomes a cloud, shifting, endowed with meaning, imposed upon it. Can you feel, listening with trained ear to heartbeat of the other, the wind shrieking and gasping and singing, as one listens to the vast humming, inside the paradoxical cylinder of the telephone pole? Such uncharted, wild barrens there are behind the calm or mischievous shell that has learned its name but not its destiny. There is still time to veer, to sally forth, knapsack on back, for unknown hills over which… only the wind knows what lies. Shall she, shall she veer? There will be time, she says, knowing that in her beginning is her end and the seeds of destruction perhaps now dormant may even today begin sprouting malignantly within her. She turns away from action in one direction, to that in another, knowing all the while that some day she must face behind the door of her choosing, perhaps the lady, perhaps the tiger.”
I’ve sometimes wondered whether that moment might mark the opening of her last long pathway through the world she found so fraught. After many attempts, she finally took her life almost eleven years later by putting her head in a gas oven. And left behind some exquisite if often troubling poems.