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  • Nazifa Islam

Sylvia Plath Found Poem in Halfway Down the Stairs

"August Night" was published by Halfway Down the Stairs this past December. Check it out! It was a rather tricky found poem to write since there weren't a lot of pronouns to work with in the source paragraph.


Here is the paragraph I used from The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath with the words I selected in red:


Tonight, for a moment, all was at peace inside. I came out of the house-across -the-street a little before twelve, sick with unfulfilled longing, alone, self-reviling. And there, miraculously was the August night. It had just rained, and the air was thick with warm damp and fog. The moon, full, pregnant with light, showed strangely from behind the small frequent clouds, poised like a picture puzzle that had been broken, with light in back, outlining each piece. There seemed to be no wind, but the leaves of the trees stirred, restless, and the water fell from them in great drops on the pavement, with a sound like that of people walking down the street. There was the peculiar smell of mould, dead leaves, decay, in the air. The two lights over the front steps were haloed with a hazy nimbus of mist, and strange insects fluttered up against the screen, fragile, wing-thin and blinded, dazed, numbed by the brilliance. Lightning, heat lightning flicked off and on, as if some stage hand were toying with the light switch. Two crickets, deep in the cracks in the granite steps, sang a sweet, haunting-thin trill. And because it was my home, I loved them. The air flowed about me like thick molasses, and the shadows from the moon and street lamp split like schizophrenic blue phantoms, grotesque and faintly repetitious.


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