Crossing The Water by Sylvia Plath

Black lake, black boat, two black, cut-paper people.
Where do the black trees go that drink here?
Their shadows must cover Canada.

A little light is filtering from the water flowers.
Their leaves do not wish us to hurry:
They are round and flat and full of dark advice.

Cold worlds shake from the oar.
The spirit of blackness is in us, it is in the fishes.
A snag is lifting a valedictory, pale hand;

Stars open among the lilies.
Are you not blinded by such expressionless sirens?
This is the silence of astounded souls.

Sylvia Plath


About Russell Boyle

Russell Boyle is a mathematics teacher, writer, and poet. His poetry anthologies are titled The Beginning, Footprints and Loneliness. Russell is the author of the Year 7 to 8 Mathematics Short-Answer Tasks, the Year 7 to 10 Mathematics Multiple-Choice Tasks, the Year 9 to 10 Extended-Response Tasks, the solutions to the Year 12 VCAA Mathematics Exams and the Web-Programming For Beginners series of courses. Sample poems and questions may be downloaded from
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4 Responses to Crossing The Water by Sylvia Plath

  1. cindy knoke says:

    ok, here goes by memory complete with f*** ups.

    You do not do
    anymore black shoe
    in which I have lived
    like a foot
    for 30 years,
    never daring to breathe or achoo
    ………forget this part

    and then i knew what to do
    I made a model of you
    a man in black
    with a mein kompf look
    and a love of the rack and the screw
    and I said
    I do
    so daddy
    I’m finally through
    the telephone’s off at the root (?)
    the voices just can’t get through.

    When I was young, she and Frost spoke volumes to me.

    Here poor you, I go again, with my flawed memory:

    whose woods are these
    I think I know
    his house is in the village though.
    He will not see me stopping here
    to watch his woods fill up with snow.
    My little horse must think it queer
    to stop without a village near.
    she gives her harness bells a shake
    as if to ask, if some mistake (wrong)
    the woods are lovely
    dark and deep
    but i have promises to keep.
    and miles to go before i sleep.

    I really do like poetry. And yours is wonderful~

  2. Sylvia Plath is one of my top five favorite poets, but I had not come across this one. Thanks for posting it. You have excellent taste in your choices.

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