Sylvia Plath was born during the Great Depression, in Massachusetts. Her mother, Aurelia, was a first generation American of Austrian descent, and her father, Otto, was an immigrant from Germany. He was a professor of biology and German at Boston University, and he wrote a book about bumblebees. His wife was 21 years his junior. He was alienated from his family, because he did not become a Lutheran minister like they wanted him to be.
Touch it: it won't shrink like an eyeball, This egg-shaped bailiwick, clear as a tear. Here's yesterday, last year --- Palm-spear and lily distinct as flora in the vast Windless threadwork of a tapestry. Flick the glass with your fingernail: It will ping like a Chinese chime in the slightest air stir Though nobody in there looks up or bothers to answer. The inhabitants are light as cork, Every one of them permanently busy. At their feet, the sea waves bow in single file. Never trespassing in bad temper: Stalling in midair, Short-reined, pawing like paradeground horses. Overhead, the clouds sit tasseled and fancy As Victorian cushions. This family Of valentine faces might please a collector: They ring true, like good china. Elsewhere the landscape is more frank. The light falls without letup, blindingly. A woman is dragging her shadow in a circle About a bald hospital saucer. It resembles the moon, or a sheet of blank paper And appears to have suffered a sort of private blitzkrieg. She lives quietly With no attachments, like a foetus in a bottle, The obsolete house, the sea, flattened to a picture She has one too many dimensions to enter. Grief and anger, exorcised, Leave her alone now. The future is a grey seagull Tattling in its cat-voice of departure. Age and terror, like nurses, attend her, And a drowned man, complaining of the great cold, Crawls up out of the sea.