The Colossus

By Sylvia Plath

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 slit from your throat.

I am the none the wiser.

Scaling little ladders with gluepots and pails of Lysol

I crawl like an ant in mourning

Over the weedy acres of your brow

To mend the immense skull- plates of and clear

The bald, white tumult 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 old their 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 reed 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 bank stones of the landing.

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