But I would rather be horizontal.
I am not a tree with my root in the soil
Sucking up minerals and motherly love
So that each March I may gleam into leaf,
Nor am I the beauty of a garden bed
Attracting my share of Ahs and spectacularly painted,
Unknowing I must soon unpetal.
Compared with me, a tree is immortal
And a flower-head not tall, but more startling,
And I want the one’s longevity and the other’s daring.

Tonight, in the infinitesimal light of the stars,
The trees and flowers have been strewing their cool odors.
I walk among them, but none of them are noticing.
Sometimes I think that when I am sleeping
I must most perfectly resemble them–
Thoughts gone dim.
It is more natural to me, lying down.
Then the sky and I are in open conversation,
And I shall be useful when I lie down finally:
The the trees may touch me for once, and the flowers have time for me.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Sylvia Plath's poem I Am Vertical


  1. Rafa says:

    What does mean Ahs ? Thanks!

  2. Mariana says:

    i recently got involved with poetry and i had no idea how deep it can be. i especially like this poem because it shows that people have insecutities, we don’t always feel beautiful like a garden bed. and sometimes we think we would be better off (horizontal)or dead. and sometimes we miss that motherly love. poetry let’s me see thinks with a deeper meaning

  3. Blanca says:

    this poem indicates that Sylvia would rather be Dead (horizontal). She seems to dispise the flowers because they do not know they are to die. And what is more natural to her lying down (dead in a casket).
    The tree’s do not notice her because she is not dead yet. Only when she is dead the tree’s (roots)will have use for her (as food).

  4. milena says:

    this piece of art is the most amazaing thing i have ever read and to be honest I’m just impressed anyway I keep on writing essay about sylvia and found that poem in an original version, I love it in polish but in eglish it’s beautiful too.. I feel like i met sylvia her self in this poem she’s more peaceful than angry and that helps me find her in a very different way, regards, milena

  5. Dark Angel (Chii) says:

    I really LOVE this poem! It is my favorite poem in the ENTIRE UNIVERSE!!! I LOVE SYLVIA PLATH!!!!!! ^_^

  6. Turan says:

    This is the best poem I ever read. Because of that it adorns my room’s walls with original and translated form to my language.
    I believe that this poem definetly defines me!

  7. talula says:

    “daddy” and “lady lazarus” are her best poems, no question, but “ariel” is all about sylvia the angry woman. that’s why i love “vertical” – i see so much silent beauty in it. and sweet sadness. mother earth in all her strength. we will die but in the end we will get closer to her. the thought sylvia describes gives me a better feeling about my own death. sylvia, 10 points!

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