The air is a mill of hooks —
Questions without answer,
Glittering and drunk as flies
Whose kiss stings unbearably
In the fetid wombs of black air under pines in summer.

I remember
The dead smell of sun on wood cabins,
The stiffness of sails, the long salt winding sheets.
Once one has seen God, what is the remedy?
Once one has been seized up

Without a part left over,
Not a toe, not a finger, and used,
Used utterly, in the sun’s conflagration, the stains
That lengthen from ancient cathedrals
What is the remedy?

The pill of the Communion tablet,
The walking beside still water? Memory?
Or picking up the bright pieces
Of Christ in the faces of rodents,
The tame flower-nibblers, the ones

Whose hopes are so low they are comfortable —
The humpback in his small, washed cottage
Under the spokes of the clematis.
Is there no great love, only tenderness?
Does the sea

Remember the walker upon it?
Meaning leaks from the molecules.
The chimneys of the city breathe, the window sweats,
The children leap in their cots.
The sun blooms, it is a geranium.

The heart has not stopped.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Sylvia Plath's poem Mystic


  1. Subrata Ray says:

    The vision of phantasmagoria from the limited finite of this body , and a vehement desire of getting lost into the ultimate reality ,-carry the key note of this poem .

  2. Cameron Morse says:

    This is about getting on with your life. It begins with a kind of agony which Plath writes about a lot, here as the sensation of joy, or transcendence, of having “seen God”, begins to fade. That kind of experience she talks about in the second verse, and seems to relate to the revelation of death (“the dead smell of wood cabins”) which she depicts as a voyage (“stiffness of sails”). But what makes all this interesting, is that she never focuses on that moment of epiphany, only on the torment of its after-effects. There what she felt in full, other public takes for granted as dogma (“bright pieces of Christ in the faces of rodents”), carrying out rituals of whose meaning they are oblivious. She wonders whether she can join them one day by forgetting what she saw (“Meaing leaks from the molecules”), and once again grow accustomed to the mundane world to which she returned from her travels.

    The conclusion is that no matter the torment of “Questions without answer”, “the heart has not stopped”. That is to say, the people that suffer are the ones with the vision of something better, because once they unavoidably lose sight of that, all that is left to do is keep breathing.

  3. Larry Syldan says:

    She is describing her version of the dark night of the soul. But unlike known mystics, she calls this God. The mystic experiences it ha a great travail on the journey.

  4. Omar says:

    plath is disturbed, which that is shown in her poems, especially this one.. u can see the depression in her mood, and the satisfactory out of life.. she always describes death, and talk abt them.. this poem she implies the metaphorical ways of inscribing her inner feelings, to make them appeal to the reader, with different reading everytime read..OMAR

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