The day she visited the dissecting room
They had four men laid out, black as burnt turkey,
Already half unstrung. A vinegary fume
Of the death vats clung to them;
The white-smocked boys started working.
The head of his cadaver had caved in,
And she could scarcely make out anything
In that rubble of skull plates and old leather.
A sallow piece of string held it together.
In their jars the snail-nosed babies moon and glow.
He hands her the cut-out heart like a cracked heirloom.
In Brueghel’s panorama of smoke and slaughter
Two people only are blind to the carrion army:
He, afloat in the sea of her blue satin
Skirts, sings in the direction
Of her bare shoulder, while she bends,
Finger a leaflet of music, over him,
Both of them deaf to the fiddle in the hands
Of the death’s-head shadowing their song.
These Flemish lovers flourish;not for long.
Yet desolation, stalled in paint, spares the little country
Foolish, delicate, in the lower right hand corner.
More Poetry from Sylvia Plath:Sylvia Plath Poems based on Topics: Death & Dying, Sadness, Fool, Music
- Kindness (Sylvia Plath Poems)
- By Candlelight (Sylvia Plath Poems)
- Among The Narcissi (Sylvia Plath Poems)
- Bucolics (Sylvia Plath Poems)
- A Life (Sylvia Plath Poems)
- Jilted (Sylvia Plath Poems)
Readers Who Like This Poem Also Like:Based on Topics: Sadness Poems, Death & Dying Poems, Music Poems, Fool Poems
Based on Keywords: turkey, fume, babies, rubble, sallow, heirloom, caved, shadowing, unstrung, leaflet, carrion
- Alma; or, The Progress of the Mind. In Three Cantos. - Canto I. (Matthew Prior Poems)
- The Merchant of Venice,: A Legend of Italy (Richard Harris Barham Poems)
- Convict Once - Part Second. (James Brunton Stephens Poems)
- Christ's Triumph after Death : Canto IV. Christ's Victory and Triumph (Giles Fletcher Jr Poems)
- Astraea: The Balance Of Illusions (Oliver Wendell Holmes Poems)