“The woman is perfected.   
Her dead

Body wears the smile of accomplishment,   
The illusion of a Greek necessity

Flows in the scrolls of her toga,   
Her bare

Feet seem to be saying:
We have come so far, it is over.

Each dead child coiled, a white serpent,   
One at each little

Pitcher of milk, now empty.   
She has folded

Them back into her body as petals   
Of a rose close when the garden

Stiffens and odors bleed
From the sweet, deep throats of the night flower.

The moon has nothing to be sad about,   
Staring from her hood of bone.

She is used to this sort of thing.
Her blacks crackle and drag.”

This is by no means my favorite poem, but it’s one I like to go back to when I’m asked to deconstruct or analyse a poem for its meaning. While I’m aware that’s not the intent of this class, I still find the parallels between this poem and Plath’s own life fascinating.