Tag Archives: poet

Things I stole from Sylvia.


My daughter and I went to visit Sylvia Plath’s grave again in Heptonstall, West Yorkshire at the weekend. (I know, it’s just one thrill ride after another at our house.)

It was a stunningly sunny day and I took the liberty of stealing a couple of leaves from her grave as a memento.

Now, some people might consider that tantamount to desecration.

I must add, however, that if you look at the picture I took of her grave back in March versus the one I took last Saturday, you could argue that I was merely ‘pruning’.

31st March 2021
17th July 2021

Whatever side of the felonious fence you sit upon, here’s a photo of Exhibit A.

Anyhoo, after sticking the leaves in my sketchbook and pondering them for a while, I decided to write a poem about them.

So, here it is

Lady Lazarus

by David Milligan-Croft.

A leaf stolen

from Sylvia Plath’s grave.

I wonder if the atoms

from her decaying, mortal flesh

have permeated terra firma?

Her nutrient-rich essence

seeping into the soil

absorbed by the roots,

rising up through the stem,

branching out into the veins.

Verdant leaves vignette to aubergine,

unfurl to the scintilating light,

as though – with eyes closed –

she stretches out her slender arms

to the glorious, morning sun.

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Alone with Everybody by Charles Bukowski


charles-bukowski-quotes3

 

Alone With Everybody

By Charles Bukowski.

 

the flesh covers the bone

and they put a mind

in there and

sometimes a soul,

and the women break

vases against the walls

and the men drink too

much

and nobody finds the

one

but keep

looking

crawling in and out

of beds.

flesh covers

the bone and the

flesh searches

for more than

flesh.

 

there’s no chance

at all:

we are all trapped

by a singular

fate.

 

nobody ever finds

the one.

 

the city dumps fill

the junkyards fill

the madhouses fill

the hospitals fill

the graveyards fill

 

nothing else

fills.

 

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How do I Love Thee? #71/365


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Sonnet 43 – How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,—I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

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Let me fail in Sunshine – new post.


I’ve been a busy little bee of late publishing my first novel, Love is Blood.

Well, I’ve now also published my first collection of poetry, called Let me fail in Sunshine. It’s split into three sections covering childhood, nature and love.

When I first began writing poetry in my teens, I tried to write how I thought poetry should be written – T.S. Eliot, Wordsworth, etc, like I’d learned at school. This was unnatural and forced. (Not to mention, crap.)

It was only years later, after discovering the works of Raymond Carver and Charles Bukowski, that I realised it was okay to be me. Not to try and be someone I’m not.

So, I found my voice.

It wasn’t long after, that my work started getting published in poetry journals, periodicals, websites and anthologies. Many of the poems featured in this collection have been published in the U.S., Britain and Ireland.

Some of them are humorous, some are heartbreaking, while others will fill you with joy.

There are a couple of sample poems under the image of the front cover. I hope you like them. And, if you do, maybe you would be so kind as to pop over to Amazon and buy a copy of it please? (Just click on the cover image and it will take you through to Amazon.)

let me fail in sunshine, poetry, david milligan-Croft

THE DEPARTED

Holes appear in wardrobes,
Cupboards stare agape.

Delft wrapped in newsprint,
Boxes packed and taped.

Naked patches,
Where photographs once hung.

Dusty bookshelves
With no stories to tell.

Bulging suitcases
Clambering for the door.

Except, I’m not the one,
Going anywhere.

GUILTY.

The pole from which I hang

Is normally meant for the washing.

Today though, I am out to dry,

Swinging like a criminal

By the neck of my t-shirt.

It was my means of escape

That captured me:

Across Mr. Gordon’s garden,

Through the hedge,

Over the shed roof,

With the crab apples,

Down the washing pole,

Where I now hang.

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Le cadavre d’exquis, de l’amour – new poem


Le cadavre d’exquis, de l’amour.

Draguignan, 1999.

© David Milligan-Croft

Outside the vineyard,
Droplets of rain refresh us,
Along with the bottle of white wine,
On the wrought iron table.

There’s a sunflower between us
On the cover of your notebook;
We take it in turns
To write our exquisite corpse, of love.

Occasionally, we stop,
To exchange wine through baisers,
While the rain makes our words bleed,
Like your mascara at Nice airport.

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Let me fail in sunshine – new poem


Perhaps I could be accused of trying to solicit pathos. However, that was never my intention. I just like the image that it paints.

LET ME FAIL IN SUNSHINE.

© David Milligan-Croft

I was born for the sun.
To sit in creased, cream flannels,
Specks of red wine on a grubby white shirt,
Dusty feet, naked in espadrilles.

I could think in the sun.
Writing plays of heroes and lovers;
Perhaps my life story, (with an exaggeration or two),
Royalties and rights, money for jam.

I could dream in the sun.
A romance I made up, which lasted forever;
At home, she wore a floral dress, and carved words into paper,
Wherever that was.

I could fail in the sun.
Where tears of remorse dried in the mid-day haze;
Idle dreams floating like ice in a glass,
Slowly, slowly, slipping away.

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The shoebox in the attic – new poem.


THE SHOEBOX IN THE ATTIC.

© David Milligan-Croft.                                                                                  

I look at myself – not in a mirror,
But in an old black & white photograph.

It’s about forty-odd years old now,
And there’s a tear down the middle,                                                                       Where another photograph
Was stuck to it.

I am on the doorstep of someone’s house –                                                                      It could be mine – I’m not sure.
The door is open, and inside,
I can see a battered old pram

And a vinyl chair with metal legs.                                                                                       The house looks old,
Judging by the worn door frame
And the rounded edges of the bricks.

I am about two, I think.
I have jelly-bean sandals and white socks                                                                     On chubby white legs. I presume I have shorts on
But that is the part that’s torn.

I am wearing a thick, woolly cardigan.                                                                              I’m being hugged
In my huggable cardigan
By a woman I do not know.

When I say, “woman”,

She looks about fifteen.
And is wearing a shiny floral blouse                                                                            And black ski-pants                                                                                                       Which I am sat upon.

She has her face squished up against mine,                                                                     Like she loves me, or something.                                                                                        And her arms wrapped tightly around me,                                                                      As though she’s afraid I’ll disappear.

I am so scrunched up
That my head dominates the rest of my body.                                                   Beneath my fair-haired fringe
I wear a frown.

My furrowed brow is depressed
Onto two depressed eyes.
She looks happy.

I do not.

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Sometimes I look for you – new poem.


SOMETIMES I LOOK FOR YOU.

© David Milligan-Croft.

 

It’s been almost twenty years now.

 

Even still, I look for you,

Every time I visit our capital.

 

I look for you ascending great escalators,

As I descend into the labyrinth.

 

I scan the faces in crowded carriages

Looking for your headachey eyes.

 

I look for the scar

On hands that grip the rail.

 

Although you are not the purpose

Of my visit, I hope to catch a glimpse of you,

 

Among the other eight million inhabitants.

And, why on earth not?

 

It’s still better odds

Than winning the lottery.

 

And that’s what being with you

was like – winning the lottery.

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The Diameter of the Bomb – Yehuda Amichai


In light of yesterday’s bombings in Boston, this poem seems all the more poignant. Thank you to Asha Mokashi for sharing it.

The Diameter of the Bomb

by Yehuda Amichai

 

The diameter of the bomb was thirty centimeters

And the diameter of its effective range about seven meters,

With four dead and eleven wounded.

And around these, in a larger circle

Of pain and time, two hospitals are scattered

And one graveyard. But the young woman

Who was buried in the city she came from,

At a distance of more than a hundred kilometers,

Enlarges the circle considerably,

And the solitary man mourning her death

At the distant shores of a country far across the sea

Includes the entire world in the circle.

And I won’t even mention the crying of orphans

That reaches up to the throne of God and

Beyond, making

A circle with no end and no God.

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Sylvia Plath – In Memoriam


Sylvia Plath October 27th 1932 - 11th February 1963

Sylvia Plath
October 27th 1932 – 11th February 1963

I was a few days late with my tribute to the great artist, Amedeo Modigliani. So, I decided to be a bit premature with this one to Sylvia Plath.

Poet, novelist and short story writer, Sylvia Plath committed suicide 50 years ago tomorrow.

She was married to fellow poet, Ted Hughes. And the pair had two children together, Frieda and Nicholas.

On hearing of Hughes having an affair they separated. Plath taking two year old Frieda and nine month old Nicholas with her. Five months later, with the kids tucked up in bed, she sealed the kitchen doors and windows with wet towels and put her head in the oven. She was 30 years old.

The world lost a literary colossus and prodigious talent.

Understandably, Ted Hughes came in for a lot of stick for his part in her death. Exacerbated by the fact that his second wife, Assia Wevill, (the woman he had the affair with), also committed suicide in 1969. And, even more tragically, she also took the life of their daughter, Alexandra.

It’s not my place to vilify Hughes, as I don’t know what went on in their relationship. What I do know, is that he was an outstanding poet too.

Plath’s daughter, Frieda went on to become a successful poet, children’s author and artist. (I think she lives in Australia now.)

Nicholas became a marine biologist. But, like his mum, suffered from depression. And sadly, he also took his own life in 2009 by hanging himself.

The world would have been a better, richer place if she had remained in it.

Here is one of my favourite poems; I love the way the lines break, sending one stanza cascading into the next:

EDGE

by Sylvia Plath

The woman is perfected
Her dead

Body wears the smile of accomplishment,
The illusion of a Greek necessity

Flows in the scrolls of her toga,
Her bare

Feet seem to be saying:
We have come so far, it is over.

Each dead child coiled, a white serpent,
One at each little

Pitcher of milk, now empty
She has folded

Them back into her body as petals
Of a rose close when the garden

Stiffens and odors bleed
From the sweet, deep throats of the night flower.

The moon has nothing to be sad about,
Staring from her hood of bone.

She is used to this sort of thing.
Her blacks crackle and drag.

Screen shot 2013-02-09 at 20.43.38

What a smile – RIP Sylvia Plath

Addendum

Here’s a lovely little article from the Academy of American poets about

the things that Sylvia Plath loved.

Addendum II

The days before death. Read this honest, harrowing and heart-felt account, by Jillian Becker, about Sylvia Plath’s final days. (I know, as a parent, that I would’ve felt a little put-out at being a nursemaid.) Thank you to Jo Harley Hynes for sharing it with me.

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