Erica Jong

Erica Jong is an American novelist and poet, a website with a wealth of information about her can be found at

In Sylvia Plath Country

for Grace

The skin of the sea
has nothing to tell me.

I see her diving down
into herself--

past the bell-shaped jellyfish
who toll for no one--

& meaning to come back.


In London, in the damp
of a London morning,
I see her sitting,
folding & unfolding herself,
while the blood
hammers like rain
on her heart's windows.

This is her own country--
the sea, the rain
& death half rhyming
with her father's name.

Obscene monosyllable,
it lingers for a while
on the roof
of the mouth's house.

I stand here
savoring the sound,
like salt.


They thought your death
was your last poem:
a black book
with gold-tooled cover
& pages the color of ash.

But I thought different,
knowing how madness
doesn't believe
in metaphor.

When you began to feel
the drift of continents
beneath your feet,
the sea's suck,
& each
atom of the poisoned air,
you lost
the luxury of simile.

Gull calls, broken shells,
the quarried coast.
This is where America ends,
dropping off
to the depths.

Death comes
differently in California.
Marilyn stalled
in celluloid,
the frame stuck,
& the light
burning through.

Bronze to her platinum,
Ondine, Ariel,
finally no one,

what could we tell you
after you dove down into yourself
& were swallowed
by your poems?

From FRUITS AND VEGETABLES by Erica Jong. Copyright 1971 by Erica Mann Jong. Used by permission, all rights reserved.