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Response to Sylvia Plath's 'Fever 103' (redrafted and better)

by Katerina T Nix

Another day, what does it mean?
The wisps of fire
Still ripple, ripple through my skin.

Wisps shot from some Furie's tongue.
A Fate deciding my fate. Imperious
and unchanging. Happy

to watch, watch the anguish
go on, so long, love.
Your creation

this dying desert rose. Isadora
taught me how to sleep in a
coffin, and wilt

Wilt like the finest of women
But premature! I sparkle black
and burn, burn with every breath.

Long since my balancing rowlock
Long since my darling forgot
this Chinese Porcelain will break-

forever fragile on the kitchen table.
There were cracks, cracks
I tried to hide.

Hellbound cat!
Years of the scratching pole
my scarred back

I tried, tried to hide.
Jilted and fatiqued,
The sin. Your sin. My

Wretched fairytale. A chink
I should have seen,
Me antiquated for a girl.

I was Napoleon's army
and you were Russian ice
I have frozen- slowly

Quietly
Quiet as a wife. The light
slows into the embers.

Breath me
out of the cinders.
A spark.

A flicker. The flame
is loud. It washes me clean,
clean, clean.

I believe I may ascend.
High and white,
Weightless with the gas

Pure
As the grapes that Aphrodite
chews and spits for breakfast

Give me lilies, roses,
something sweetly sickening
on my way up.

Still, and still without you
(my innerwomangirl going now)
to paradise once again.


01/08/2002

Author's Note: This is a creative response I wrote to a Plath poem in my literature class last year. Plath's original piece 'Fever 103' focuses on the effect the failure of marriage has on her life. I have kept the view point of the poem the same, that is the author speaking to the reader and to the faceless person she refers to both endearingly and with hatred. In an interview, Plath once explained the meanings of the two kinds of fire in her poem "the fires of hell, which merely agonize, and the fires of heaven, which purify. during the poem, the first sort of fire suffers itself into the second" I have also tried to show this in my creative response. So please read, enjoy and comment otherwise I'll never learn..... :)

Posted on 05/09/2003
Copyright © 2019 Katerina T Nix

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Graeme Fielden on 05/09/03 at 10:45 AM

My first entry to your library and I'm very impressed! A most eloquent & powerful poem Katerina. Grettings from a fellow Aussie :)

Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 05/09/03 at 06:01 PM

Excellent response poem, Kat. I've often had trouble getting into Plath's poetry, but your piece and accompanying author's note shed new light on her work. Thanks for that.

Posted by Graeme Fielden on 06/20/03 at 09:15 AM

Congratulations on POTD Kat - well deserved!...Aussie, Aussie Aussie!

Posted by Agnes Eva on 06/20/03 at 03:47 PM

*chills* you are impressively talented and have a mastery of creative and powerful word use. an excellent poem

Posted by Quentin S Clingerman on 06/20/03 at 03:59 PM

Poignant, dramatic, traumatic!

Posted by Philip F De Pinto on 12/24/03 at 03:26 PM

this lumines the dark toil which is in us waiting. brilliance as stars give off and freely.

Posted by Kristine Briese on 03/09/04 at 01:24 PM

I love and worship Plath in that way many depressives do. This does her justice. It's gripping, brilliant. I'm stunned.

Posted by Laura Doom on 02/17/07 at 05:40 PM

I wish I'd read your original version - Plath seems to inspire either admiration or denigration, with little space between. So I read her 'Fever 103' and received the impression that you had 'sanitised' her descent/ascent...is that a valid impression? And if so, was it a conscious strategy? (If not, I'm probably hallucinating, so at least I'll die happy :)
Whatever, the piece breathes on its own merits regardless of the source of inspiration.

Posted by Tony Whitaker on 05/06/07 at 12:35 AM

Wow, such a daunting task in your response to such a difficult read as Plath's. I have not read any of your poems before. I am thoroughly intrigued!

Posted by Mo Couts on 06/23/11 at 02:01 AM

Plath = excellent. You = excellent. She'd be very proud of what you did with her piece, me thinks.

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