“Two Views of a Cadaver Room” — Sylvia Plath

(1)
The day she visited the dissecting room
They had four men laid out, black as burnt turkey,
Already half unstrung. A vinegary fume
Of the death vats clung to them;
The white-smocked boys started working.
The head of his cadaver had caved in,
And she could scarcely make out anything In that rubble of skull plates and old leather.
A sallow piece of string held it together. In their jars the snail-nosed babies moon and glow.
He hands her the cut-out heart like a cracked heirloom.
(2)
In Brueghel’s panorama of smoke and slaughter
Two people only are blind to the carrion army:
He, afloat in the sea of her blue satin
Skirts, sings in the direction Of her bare shoulder, while she bends,
Finger a leaflet of music, over him, Both of them deaf to the fiddle in the hands
Of the death’s-head shadowing their song.
These Flemish lovers flourish; not for long.
Yet desolation, stalled in paint, spares the little country
Foolish, delicate, in the lower right hand corner.

2 thoughts on ““Two Views of a Cadaver Room” — Sylvia Plath”

  1. […] (1) The day she visited the dissecting room They had four men laid out, black as burnt turkey, Already half unstrung. A vinegary fume Of the death vats clung to them; The white-smocked boys started working. The head of his cadaver had caved in, And she could scarcely make out anything In that rubble of skull plates and old leather. A sallow piece of string held it together. In their jars the snail-nosed babies moon and glow. He hands her the cut-out heart like a cracked heirloom. (2) In Brueghel’s panorama of smoke and slaughter Two people only are blind to the carrion army: He, afloat in the sea of her blue satin Skirts, sings in the direction Of her bare shoulder, while she bends, Finger a leaflet of music, over him, Both of them deaf to the fiddle in the hands Of the death’s-head shadowing their song. These Flemish lovers flourish; not for long. Yet desolation, stalled in paint, spares the little country Foolish, delicate, in the lower right hand corner. Via Biblioklept.org […]

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