Sylvia Plath was an American poet credited with advancing the genre of confessional poetry. Plath was clinically depressed for most of her adult life. On 11 February 1963 she killed herself at the age of 30 by sticking her head in a gas oven.

Sonnet: ''Sylvia''

Why in a gas oven, dear Sylvia,
did you stick your pretty, middle-class head?
Was the life of upper suburbia
too much for you that you'd rather be dead?
If, like you, we gassed ourselves to death at thirty,
we'd never forgive ourselves for leaving
behind our children. We'd feel unworthy,
and selfish for causing them much grieving.
But, at eight, you witnessed your father's demise;
and bore for life an emotional scar
(which you've never been able to exorcise),
a grief which you relate in “The Bell Jar.”
You should not be prejudged, dear Sylvia,
for we knew not your melancholia.

Sonnet by Ngoc Nguyen The PoetBay support member heart!
Read 159 times
Written on 2021-07-20 at 10:36

Tags Gas  Plath  Suicide 

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Caleb Murdock
I'm not that familiar with the life of Sylvia Plath, but I think the poem is well written. The poem is more or less contemptuous of Plath, which aligns with society's general contempt for suicides. I'm not saying that's a good or bad thing; I'm just noting it. One has to assume that a person wouldn't commit suicide unless he or she was truly unhappy and had problems that seemed insurmountable.

Steven Riddle
Dear Ngoc,

So very nicely done. When I was younger (and even stupider) I used to think a lot about this very subject and how anyone could be so foolish as to do what she did and so selfish. With a few years behind me, I’ve come to understand neither selfish nor foolish, but so much in need and so hurting. And your last couplet really says it all. Thank you.