Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.

Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.

I’m no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind’s hand.

All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.

One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat’s. The window square

Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Sylvia Plath's poem Morning Song

20 Comments

  1. Dagmar says:

    i think this poem is amazing. She is not being cold at all. when she says that our voicves echo, magnifying your arrival. new statue. in a drafty museumj, your nakedness shadows our safety. we stand round blankly as walls. is saying her baby is the art that is holding her eye. its the artwork she wants to protect and admire. and it is the art she is admiring. read your own, sylvia. its explains how sylvia plath. she was not selfish. not even with the suicide attempts. she was lost. her husband and her did not get along at all and got a divorce. she stayed with her children and loved them each dearly. she miscarried once and immediately tried for another baby soon after. this gave her her son nick. the book your own sylvia explains this to us in a series of poems about her growing up and dating and how family tensions within her husbands side of the family towards her were a heavy burden on her. Since she was young she was seeking love and by saying that she admired her child and protected it like the museum would she is showing she has someone to love now. She is making her baby everything to her. Her children in life were the things that inspired her in poetry. so did giving birth to such amazing human beings. She is a person who people get the wrong idea about. she was not a bad person. just confused and wanting love.

  2. Zoe says:

    I believe that this mother was anxious about her newborn child like all other women are.She certainly loves her child but is not able yet to cope with its behaviour.Plath uses fine images in order to show as this love.

  3. S. Langor says:

    I don’t think in Lady Lazarus she actually thought of herself like that because if you read it closely it’s written with a very ironic tone and she is mocking “Herr [Mr.] Doktor”.

    I quite liked the poem, it began with the word love and ended with the feeling of love.

  4. Amy says:

    In my opinion the poet is looking at the arrival of her baby on a different level. That of what happens to a room, house or person when a new object appears. I don’t think this poem is necessarily about Platt’s emotions toward the child but more about the presence of the child itself. I think she removes herself emotionally on purpose to simply observe the changes in the household. Like how a wall or house might view the arrival of the baby.

  5. Matt says:

    I am sorry if anyone is offended by this but Sylvia Plath was a very selfish woman. She didn’t care for others, the fact that she so desperately wanted to commit suicide portrays this, she didn’t care about the effect her death would have on her children or anyone else. In a sense, she had the same views as her father apparently had (although she is so very pesimistic that I wouldn’t fully believe everything she says). In “Lady Lazarus” she quotes, “I am your opus, I am your valuable, The pure gold baby”, she thinks that her father valued her purely as a possession but yet, in Morning Song, she appears to view her own baby as an object, not a living,breathing human.

  6. ro says:

    after reading this poem i believe we can find more than one meaning or layer of meaning. the poem its may talk about motherhood a how this afects the ambigious thoughts and feelings women have after giving birth to a child. yet i think it has to do with the idea of giving birth but not only to a child but birth in a more symbolic or metaphoric sense. perhaps the idea of birth is used as the idea of creation of something new in our lives that changes how things were and makes us feel uneasy and frightened.

  7. Liana says:

    we shouldn’t automatically assume that the speaker of the poem is actually the poet, so her own destiny has nothing to do with the poem itself.
    She describes her baby in the most unflattering expressions using words with negative connotations: “moth-breath and “mouth opens clean as a cat’s.” The poem is a bit ironic, as it portrays motherhood differently from what is considered traditional. Every woman’s main purpose in life is to give birth to a descendant. In the poem, however, the mother does not cherish her round forms and instead calls herself “cow-heavy.” On the outside, she is a typical woman who just begat a child: in a floral Victorian nightgown rushing to the cradle when hears a cry. On the inside, she mentally tries to escape from the situation. She looks out of the window but nothing pleases her eyes, even the stars are dull. She feels devoured by her burden, as the night is devoured by day.

  8. zeynep demir says:

    ı think this poem was written when she had perplexed feelings about her baby.She was in dilemma whether to be happy or sad.she even doesn’t know how should be his manner towards the newborn baby so we do not really critisize her poem.but ı can say that all mother feel confused shotly after the birth and s.plath also feel this and give it in morning song….

  9. nazlı kemik says:

    this poem is about motherhood.It tells us the sensitivity of a mother after she gives a birth.Plath reflects her mood to poem very well;sometimes she is extremely excited about her new baby,sometimes pessimistic but generally I enjoyed while I was reading it

  10. tuğba özkan says:

    ı think the poem shows us the psychology of a mother after she gives a birth

  11. seçil abay says:

    ı think this poem reflects the feelings of the poet when she becomes a mother.

  12. Mimi says:

    One must delve deeper into this poem to see that the “baby” is really the poem, and the “mother” is the poet.

  13. Stephanie says:

    In her poem Morning Song, Plath shares her conflicting emotions towards her new born baby. She reflects upon the theme of ambiguity to further explore her thoughts on this subject. To illustrate her theme of ambiguity Plath uses complex language to develop a depth in this poem, a variety of connotations. Plath tends to fluctuate between frustration and confusion.
    The opening line of this poem, “love set you going like a fat gold watch”, is a simile which implies that, despite the ambivalence she displays later on, this child is the product of love. The choice of the diction “fat” and “gold” suggests a richness and preciousness to the experience. The metre in the line reflects the gentle ticking of a clock, the heartbeat of the newborn.
    The use of onomatopoeia which indicates Plath’s physical closeness to the child; as she describes its breath as it sleeps as “moth-breath” and “a far sea”. These soft gentle sounds contrast to the sing song sound of the “handful of notes” that “rise like balloons” ending the poem on a melodic and happy note.
    Plath suggests that she does not celebrate the new born baby, as she says “it is a new statue in a draft museum”. Here Plath reveals that she does not seem to be in high spirits over arrival of her baby but instead is just doing her job in raising the child, nothing more than that.
    She illustrates her lack of maternal instincts, I’m no more than your mother that the cloud that distils a mirror to reflect its own slow” emotionally detaching herself from the baby. She draws a parallel line with herself as a mother in order to bring up the baby. On the other hand Plath shows the joy of motherhood with phrases like “one cry and I stumble out of bed” as she has been given a new experience in caring for the child and the baby is her focus of attention. She cannot sleep at night as one cry of the baby will cause her to fall from bed. She also shows her protective nature in the metaphor “your nakedness shadows out safety” as well as revealing her sense of excitement with the phrase “Our voices each magnifying your arrival”. Plath is ambiguous in the way that she expresses her love for her new born baby.

  14. kenalia says:

    I don’t think that plath is showing the proper emotion for a new mother. She is not excited to parent this child. That is readily aparent in the third stanza. Plath was a very disturbed poet that committed suicide and not far after the birth of her second child. it is not only prevalent in this poem but in many of Plath’s other poems, that she was not fond of the mother child relationship.

  15. Thomas Beviss says:

    The poem “Morning Song” by Sylvia Plath deals with motherhood. The poem is about the birth and of the speakers’ baby and some of the events following it. Plath uses metaphors to describe the connection between the people, particularly between mother and child. She uses each of the five stanzas to convey a different message about parenthood to the reader
    The speaker shows right in first line of the poem the love she has for her newborn baby “Love set you going like a fat gold watch”. This shows that the speaker loves her baby as soon as she is born, and that she was brought into this world being deeply loved by her mother. The metaphor of the fat gold watch shows that the baby is precious to the mother and is valuable. It also shows how it was love that started the baby’s life, as you wind up a watch to get it going.
    Plath describes the baby as a new statue in a drafty museum. By this it makes the reader visualise friends and family standing around in the hospital room looking at the new object, statue, in the room that is the baby. The use of the word statue to describe the baby also makes the reader see the baby as an emotionless figure, not actually considered to be a human being yet, as it is different from everybody else. Plath says, “your nakedness Shadows our safety” which also alienates the baby from the rest of the group as it is naked and everybody else is presumably fully clothed.
    In the third stanza Plath tries to project to the reader how mother and child move apart from each other after childbirth. The first line of the stanza simply states, “I’m no more your mother”. This shows that the speaker feels that the baby is less ‘hers’ than when the child was still in her womb. The rest of the stanza is a metaphor showing that she feels like a cloud looking down on her shadow or reflection, that is her baby and now the wind is slowly pushing the cloud away, the wind of time pulling the speaker away from her baby. The connection that mother and baby once shared is weakening.
    The speaker tells the reader how she stays awake at night listening to her baby breathe, maybe as a kind of reassurance that her baby is still alive and nothing bad has happened to it. This really shows the love that the mother has for her child. She cannot bear the thought of anything bad happening to her baby, the only way she is at ease is when she can hear the baby’s breath and knows that while it is breathing it is still all right. The mother cares for her baby so much that she cannot sleep she needs to be there with her child at all times, as it is her duty.
    Plath continues to convey to the reader in the fifth stanza how devoted she is to her baby. “One cry, and I stumble from my bed,” For most mothers if their baby starts crying in the night and they know nothings is wrong, they probably would just try and ignore it for a while and see if it stops and goes back to sleep. Plath shows in this stanza that she is not most mothers. If the baby just cries once, if it be for food or just wants attention, she will be there. She does not want to leave her baby alone or in need for one second she does not want it feeling neglected or unloved. One cry and she is there.
    The final sentence of the poem is one of the most powerful in the poem “And now you try” it is like she is challenging you. Commanding any doubters of her efforts to do the same. She shows how it is not easy being a new and loving mother, completely devoting yourself to your child twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.
    To conclude, I feel that this poem shows the different experiences a new mother and baby must go through after childbirth. It explores the different bonds between mother and child and also looks into how the rest of the inner circle of family and friends seem to be there but not really matter, as the most important thing to a new mother is her baby and the poem shows perfectly how at that time is her life, nothing was more important.

  16. Brandon says:

    Plath killed herself shortly after writing this poem. She was not happy with her relationship with her husband and believed that he was not faithful to her. The birth of this child was not celebrated by Plath and eventually miscarried. I would have to say that the poem showed how dark and hopeless she ound her life.

  17. Jess says:

    This poem is about a new born baby and her mother trying to come to terms with caring for her properly. The persona explored by Plath is that of a fraustrated and confused woman unable to fully grasp the idea of being a mother. This peom although quite stark in some of its comparisons has an optimistic and uplifting end, which is very fitting to the life of a child.

  18. shell says:

    mother has to cope with change,accept it. Poem shows energy of baby,lost in adults.

  19. kim says:

    The title does not fit to the tone of the poem, Morning should be full with hopes, is a new begginning of a day, and song should be quite light-hearted, while read through the whole poem, found that sylvia plath is talking about a new born child, but from her tone seems likie she doesn’t celebrating the new born baby, as she says it is a new statue in a drafty museum, I’m no more your mother than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow… she draws a parallel line with herself as a mother to a cloud, as in she is like a cloud, destroy herself in order to bring up the baby, she has a very new experience in ca child, and the baby is her focus of attention, she annot sleep wel in the night and one cry of the baby will cause her fall from bed, as overall her tone is not celebrating and she’s just doing her job to bring up her child, nothing more than that.

  20. Michelle says:

    Sylvia Plath is writing about the birth of a child. The title correlates to the poem maily by the fact that once the child is born he/she is constantly crying, therefor waking the mother of the child up very early in the morning. The child’s cry is refered to musical notes, which led to be believe that was the “Morning Song.”

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