The Moon and the Yew Tree by Sylvia Plath
The yew tree points up. It has a Gothic shape.
The eyes lift after it and find the moon.
The moon is my mother. She is not sweet like Mary.
Her blue garments unloose small bats and owls.
How I would like to believe in tenderness—
the face of the effigy gentled by candles,
Bending, on me in particular, its mild eyes. I have fallen a long way. Clouds are flowering,
Blue and mystical over the face of the stars.
Inside the church, the saints will be all blue,
Floating on their delicate feet over the cold pews,
Their hands and faces stiff with holiness.
The moon sees nothing of this. She is bald and wild.
And the message of the yew tree is blackness—blackness and silence.
Art by Caspar David Friedrich.
“The work is full of threatening silences. It is beautiful and severe and very cold. It is surrealistic, with surrealism’s menace and refusal to explain itself.” – Janet Malcolm, The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes