Sylvia Plath


Sylvia Plath died on 11 February, 1963

Sylvia Plath was born in Massachusetts, in 1932. She published her first poem at the age of eight and was considered a model daughter and student, sensitive and tending to be a bit of a perfectionist.
In 1956, in Cambridge, she met and married British poet Ted Hughes, described as “a singer, story-teller, lion and world-wanderer” with “a voice like the thunder of God”. They lived together in the United States and then in England, had two children and separated in 1962. Plath, who had been clinically depressed for most of her adult life, died by suicide on February 11, 1963.
In 1982, she won a posthumous Pulitzer Prize for The Collected Poems.

In MIRROR , one of her most popular poems, a mirror describes its existence and its owner, who grows old  as the mirror watches.

The mirror, “silver and exact”, swallows and reflects what it sees, without any alteration or judgment. It observes the woman, and seems to understand her desperation when she has to face the reality of aging.

I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions.
Whatever I see I swallow immediately
Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike.
I am not cruel, only truthful ‚
The eye of a little god, four-cornered.
Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall.
It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long
I think it is part of my heart. But it flickers.
Faces and darkness separate us over and over.

Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,
Searching my reaches for what she really is.
Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon.
I see her back, and reflect it faithfully.
She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands.
I am important to her. She comes and goes.
Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness.
In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman
Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.


Picasso, 1932 – “Girl Before a Mirror”



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