Nick and the Candlestick

By Sylvia Plath

I am a miner. The light burns blue.   
Waxy stalactites
Drip and thicken, tears
 
The earthen womb
Exudes from its dead boredom.   
Black bat airs
 
Wrap me, raggy shawls,   
Cold homicides.
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,   
A piranha   
Religion, drinking
 
Its first communion out of my live toes.   
The candle
Gulps and recovers its small altitude,
 
Its yellows hearten.
O love, how did you get here?   
O embryo
 
Remembering, even in sleep,   
Your crossed position.   
The blood blooms clean
 
In you, ruby.   
The pain
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.

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