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Full Version: Lucia Joyce, Sylvia Plath and I by just mercedes
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Moonlight sways through my curtains
with a breeze, turning the crystal, riffling
pages of my books. Shadows at their edges
set Lucia and Sylvia free, playing out 
their tragedies, sister winged creatures 
snared by the dark father,
tangled together, dancing unaware
in wonder wild. Looply they leap, 
stage of light and rainbow child. 

Lucia scintillated
even before she became a fish, teenager
locked in a squalid room with her brother
beyond innocence, sleeping on a stretcher 
in the corner while their parents made love.
Aware, aware, experimenting with flesh, 
alive only in her father’s eyes, expressing
with her body what he translated into words,
all slithereyscales and riverbandbanked. 

What he needed was all she knew.
When the Wake was finished, he withdrew.
She’d never really existed. Gone,
as finally as Otto left Sylvia. 

In London, Paris, Dublin, these women 
walked the same streets. Separated by time
they sat in the same places with the same friends;
the Merwins, Sam Beckett, all joined
by words and the darkness behind.  

In the beginning was the Word. What came before;
first furtive fingers of incest, or just
growing up with an older brother, innocent touch
that burned for ever? Is it about love, their dance? 

Lucia, serious, sinuous, always in motion,
a figure on a Grecian urn one moment,
the next a dybbuk, an undulation. Her body spoke
for her. Even louche DaDa youths 
feared her insistence on bare flesh encounters,
her avid selfish play, the basilisk of syphilis. 

Brittle sister Sylvia
had no father to flaunt before, so she
married one, and the yew outside their window
caught the moon. Sylvia thought celestial
what Lucia knew as guttural - the parents in rut. 

Oedipus for Sylvia, his swollen foot
on the end of his amputated leg,
hatred shaking her as she hid behind
the mask of a dutiful daughter 

and Lucia, Myrrha, graceful seductress
turned into a tree. Rooted. Imprisoned for
her rage against her mother, 
kept there by her brother’s fear.
Why was he so scared?

Sylvia, incandescent with anger,
scorned gates and fences, galloped 
straight through into chaos. 
With no way left to set things right
she turned on the gas. 

Is it only in my mind
that they move together, sisters,
daughters of the same cold mad feary father;
sacrificial offerings, puppets
of some chthonic force? 

The moon has paused
in the cliff-top pohutukawa
as if it too waits for an answer.


The original thread with all workshopping and edits can be read here

just mercedes

Thank you for this honour! And thank you all who commented on it during the process of revision. I'm still not sure about the poem - it's almost as if someone else wrote it, and I don't like it that much.
Nobody ever likes their good ones Wink
joyce would be stroking his beard. i remember reading this one many more times than once, definitely one to go back to for further reads.
It seems I get back to this regularly, maybe every one or two months, and it just grows and grows (say, like a moon?). And reading through Ariel (as in the book) now, this latest read is a real leap -- I wonder how much further this would shine, reading Finnegans Wake? But oh, that feeling since my first read, of three Furies, three Fates, or rather three Sisters of the moon -- perhaps Lucia Artemis, Sylvia Selene, and the speaker the light-bearer nurse Hecate?