April 18

the slime of all my yesterdays
rots in the hollow of my skull

and if my stomach would contract
because of some explicable phenomenon
such as pregnancy or constipation

I would not remember you

or that because of sleep
infrequent as a moon of greencheese
that because of food
nourishing as violet leaves
that because of these

and in a few fatal yards of grass
in a few spaces of sky and treetops

a future was lost yesterday
as easily and irretrievably
as a tennis ball at twilight

by Sylvia Plath

Comments (2)

Four simple couplets that capture with devastating precision our mortality.
'There's a certain Slant of light' can also be read mythically through the ancient tradition of the nekyia, the underworld journey. But since Odysseus, Aeneas, and Dante all return with a knowledge that ultimately permits them to complete their human and/or spiritual quests, the question arising about Dickinson's poem is: what knowledge is brought back as a result of the 'descent'? The knowledge is not entirely a morbid one since it has resulted in a meeting with the 'internal difference, / Where the Meanings, are-' and the further knowledge that 'None may teach it, ' and that 'When it comes the Landscape listens.' The knowledge implies a depth difficult to be prepared for, especially since the closure of the poem evokes the idea that 'Death' has a face, and the speaker has seen it. From 'Her Reduceless Mine, ' an Ameroot Broadside Essay (1995) . dorenrobbins.com