On February 11th, 1963 at thirty years of age, Sylvia Plath killed herself in a London flat.
She remains a complex, controversial literary figure but there is no doubt about the technical flair she shows in her poetry and her unsettling ability to project her insecurities into her work.
Mirror is an example of a popular writing class exercise: write from the point of view of an object in the room. But few could inject such an ominous feel in the mundane like Plath does here, "In me she has drowned a young girl,and in me an old woman/Rises toward her day after day," And her final simile, "like a terrible fish." is truly unsettling.
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 the 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 a 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.