To Frieda Hughes

(Note: This poem is in response to the beautiful poem by Frieda Hughes that Ms Nymeth recently posted, which has been haunting me and reminding me of my own voyeurism, ever since. Sorry Sylia, sorry Frieda. I meant well) Ms Hughes,

I must apologize,
I am one of the cowards,
Of the vultures,
Ever gnawing at the gristle stripped bones.

I am the worm
Imbibing tender flesh.

No pride in that.

We are but humans,
We, the readers,
We are simply mechanisms,
Gnawing forward, forward
Always to the one
Who speaks without
A crankshaft in her throat.

And if the lady non-machine
Lay in the turf
We earthen wind-ups
Shake our jittered spades
We burrow through the sterile earth
To birth our maggots on
The only flesh
That can accept our eggs.

Forgive we little worms,
There's voyeurism in
Our tin-toothed cogging brains.
We mean no harm.
Someone must disconnect the bits of life
And leave behind the loamy soil
Of history digested -
In digestion, death transformed
Into fertility.


Jason Gignac

(Image from kevincollins123)


Nymeth said...

I really like it, Jason. Especially the last stanza.

Jason Gignac said...

Thank you, Ms Nymeth.

Amy said...

Lovely. But I'm not sure you need to apologize--you're a thoughtful reader, not one likely to be obsessed with Plath's death, or spend time blasting Hughes for it. It's OK. You can read her work and still think about it. :-)

Jason Gignac said...

I honestly tried to tell myself that too, Ms Amy, after reading the poem Ms Nymeth posted. I love Sylvia Plath - not even love her poems, I love her. She was one of my seminal poets, the ones I felt like I was friends with, instead of just reading words on a page. I've written poetry about her. I figured that couldn't be wrong.

I am less sure, now. Because, really, there IS something very voyeuristic about my love for her, something cruel and selfish. If I knew her, in person, I would be a leeching sort of friend, the kind that always takes and never gives. And even in a more conventional way, her death fascinated me in the way it fascinates a lot of people, I'm ashamed to admit. I used to imagine it, I looked up how her house was laid out at one point, I imagined how uncomfortable it must of been to bend over the oven door, the smell of gas, wondered how long it takes, wondered if she panicked, thought about changing her mind. I did just what Frieda said - dug her up and lived her death over and over again, sort of vicariously living it. There is something very ugly in that.

Nymeth said...

...there's also something very human, though. I respect Frieda Hughes' pain, and the poem really gave me pause too. But... I don't know. We're human, we feel things, we let our imagination go to dark places. Can we help it?

Jason Gignac said...

Because I do not grapple with the idea of sin, I can only see actions as ugly or beautiful, irrespective of the actor's ability to act otherwise. I don't know enough about free will. But I DO think, at least when I have looked at it, that what I do is an ugly act. I can imagine someone looking intently - too intently - at Ms Plath as being a beautiful thing. Death itself can be beautiful. I don't have the emotional maturity or the sense of my self necessary, however, to look at Ms Plath and be the beautiful audience. I'm too self-conscious, and as a result too selfish, and so I end up looking, like a child, at the things around me as simply an extension of myself (a fault that extends to a LOT of my interpersonal relations). But, YMMV. There is nothing wrong with looking at darkness, there's nothing wrong with identifying with darkness, or even loving and appreciating it at times, there's just something wrong with using someone else's corpse as a mask.

Julia Willis said...

Really beautiful- I love the line about the 'crankshaft in her throat'.