Sylvia Plath needs no introduction. “Tulips” is a rather understated poem out of Ariel; it exhibits a kind of quiet control that Plath may not typically be remembered for, somewhat subdued as the narrator sits in a hospital bed—but it’s an amazing poem. Though often Plath the Myth overtakes Plath the Poet, the poems remain beautiful pieces of psychic investigations into the darkness the human mind inhabits.
Nobody watched me before, now I am watched.
The tulips turn to me, and the window behind me
Where once a day the light slowly widens and slowly thins,
And I see myself, flat, ridiculous, a cut-paper shadow
Between the eye of the sun and the eyes of the tulips,
And I have no face, I have wanted to efface myself.
The vivid tulips eat my oxygen.
Read “Tulips” in its entirety at The Poetry Foundation and listen to a rare recording of Plath reading the poem below.
(Audio via BBC/Brainpickings)