Autumn 1960 • Vol. XXII No. 4 Poetry |

The Colossus

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 silt from your throat. I am 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 and clear The bald, white tumuli 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 their old 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 red stars

Already have an account? Log in

Join KR for even more to read.

Register for a free account to read five free pieces a month from our current issue and digital archive.
Register for Free and Read This Piece



Or become a subscriber today and get complete, immediate access to our digital archives at every subscription level.
Kenyon Review logo
Sylvia Plath was a poet, novelist, and short-story writer. She is best known for her poetry collections The Colossus and Other Poems and Ariel, as well as her semi-autobiographical novel The Bell Jar.

Read More

On the Beach at Noon

By Edwin Fussell

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 […]

Subscribe

Your free registration with Kenyon review incudes access to exclusive content, early access to program registration, and more.

Donate

With your support, we’ll continue 
to cultivate talent and publish extraordinary literature from diverse voices around the world.