Sylvia Plath’s Morning Song

I came across this poem in one of my readings for school. It’s titled Morning Song, written by the renowned Plath herself. Apparently, it was written about one of her children. I thought I would share it here.

Morning Song

Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.

Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.

I’m no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind’s hand.

All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.

One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat’s. The window square

Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try 
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.


I absolutely loved this poem. Her description of her baby’s breath as its “moth-breath” was spot on – it just immediately clicked in  my mind, as did the line “A far sea moves in my ear“.  There have been countless nights when I think I’ve heard  small, suspicious noise and I lie in my bed, straining my ears, and the annoying air seems to swirl loudly in my ear and I can’t seem to hear anything beyond that.  And that’s exactly how it seems, as if it’s the sound of the sea, which you hear in shells, that’s moving mutedly in my head.


2 thoughts on “Sylvia Plath’s Morning Song

  1. I love Sylvia Plath. I remember when I was about fifteen or sixteen, I picked up a collection of her poetry, and was really affected by her abrupt style of writing. I actually prefer her juvenilia, but I do like this poem. I particularly like the lines, “And now you try/ Your handful of notes/ the clear vowels rise like balloons.”


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