Love, the world
Suddenly turns, turns color. The streetlight
Splits through the rat’s tail
Pods of the laburnum at nine in the morning.
It is the Arctic,

This little black
Circle, with its tawn silk grasses – babies hair.
There is a green in the air,
Soft, delectable.
It cushions me lovingly.

I am flushed and warm.
I think I may be enormous,
I am so stupidly happy,
My Wellingtons
Squelching and squelching through the beautiful red.

This is my property.
Two times a day
I pace it, sniffing
The barbarous holly with its viridian
Scallops, pure iron,

And the wall of the odd corpses.
I love them.
I love them like history.
The apples are golden,
Imagine it —-

My seventy trees
Holding their gold-ruddy balls
In a thick gray death-soup,
Their million
Gold leaves metal and breathless.

O love, O celibate.
Nobody but me
Walks the waist high wet.
The irreplaceable
Golds bleed and deepen, the mouths of Thermopylae.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Sylvia Plath's poem Letter In November

1 Comment

  1. Mim says:

    Letter in November is a love poem. Anne Stevenson in her biography suggests that this was possibly written with Alvarez in mind, as a sign of her newfound independene. Personally, the warm colours ‘the beautiful red’ certainly suggest the love and warmth Plath feels towards her home (in Court Green, Devon at this time). This may imply that Plath is in love with her domestic life: ‘its tawn silk grasses- babies hair’ is a reference to Plath as a mother, and ‘I love them’ explains the simple, natural, and perhaps even maternal love that is felt here. The first three stanzas are particularly touching with happy assertions, ‘I am so stupidly happy.’ Juxtaposing this strongly in the fourth stanza is the ‘barbarous holly…viridian Sacllops, pure iron.’which is suggesting that Plath is not only guarding her property like a guard dog ‘I pace it, sniffing’, but that intruders are by no means welcome. Bearing in mind the similar imagery she uses in Spinster, ‘and round her house she set/ such a barricade of barb and check…as no mere insurgent man could hope to break’, it is likely that the barricade in ‘Letter in NOvember’ is to ward of men. Given the context of when the poem was written, it is likely that this figure is Ted Hughes. ‘O love, O celibate./nobody but me walks the waist high wet’ is perhaps sarcastic, (since Hughes was by no means celibate!) but indicates that Plath has accepted, and is perhaps even proud of her independence. The reference to Thermopylae is an allusion to the 300 Spartans in classical mythology, thus inferring that Plath is intent on defending her property, even if defeat is certain.

    A fantastic poem, filled with creative and beautiful images. Before writing Plath off as a ‘druggie’ please appreciate her metaphorical way of writing and the depth required to achieve this.

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