the slime of all my yesterdays
rots in the hollow of my skull

and if my stomach would contract
because of some explicable phenomenon
such as pregnancy or constipation

I would not remember you

or that because of sleep
infrequent as a moon of greencheese
that because of food
nourishing as violet leaves
that because of these

and in a few fatal yards of grass
in a few spaces of sky and treetops

a future was lost yesterday
as easily and irretrievably
as a tennis ball at twilight

Analysis, meaning and summary of Sylvia Plath's poem April 18


  1. Katie says:

    I think the title of this poem may indicate that Plath wrote it sometime during the april of her nineteenth year, when she was on the brink of adulthood, yet still caught up in all the helplessness of youth; unsure of herself or even of what future she wanted. Perhaps the season: spring, also has some significance- maybe Plath felt she would not be able to make the most of life’s summer, and this made her feel depressed.

  2. ali a says:

    to me at the beginning of her poem it is talking about how everything piles up in her head and is stuck there. the second part is about a weird feeling in her stomach. she does not want to remember why it feels like this. a future lost yesterday is talking about a life, how she had a miscarriage. when she is talking about the tennis ball and the starlight is it saying how you know it’s there and you can see it, but in a blink of an eye it’s gone

  3. Jo Tonti-Filippini says:

    Trying to find the significance of the date.
    April 18 1958 – Sylvia recorded some ‘excruciatingly formal’ poems with Ted Hughes beside her, watching over her. In these recordings can be found “November Graveyard” and “Lady Lazarus”.

    Other significant historical events on April 18:
    1775: Paul Revere begins ride through Massachusetts, “The Brittish are coming”.
    1906: Earthquake in San Francisco (over 500 killed)
    1942: U.S. planes first bomb Japan WWII
    1949: Republic of Ireland independence declaration.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Do you have any comments, criticism, paraphrasis or analysis of this poem that you feel would assist other visitors in understanding the meaning or the theme of this poem by Sylvia Plath better? If accepted, your analysis will be added to this page of American Poems. Together we can build a wealth of information, but it will take some discipline and determination.