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NaPoWriMo 2018: Day 29 – A Response Poem- Sleeping Child to Nick and the Candlestick

Today we have new interview (and our last for this year!), with the poet Chris Tonelli’s, whose second full-length poetry collection, Whatever Stasis, is just out from Barrelhouse Books. You can read some of Tonelli’s poetry here and here, and our interview with him here.

Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem based on the Plath Poetry Project’s calendar. Simply pick a poem from the calendar, and then write a poem that responds or engages with your chosen Plath poem in some way.

Just when I thought 2 more days to go and how bad can it get, this challenge came as a shocker. I’ve been staring at the screen reading Sylvia Plath’s poems, analysis of her poem and I feel swamped. I’m taking a plunge here. Just do it and don’t look back. That’s the only way I can think of responding to Sylvia Plath’s poetry. There’s not much to think about or decipher because it’s both complicated and depressing with a wee bit glimmer of hope. I have chosen Sylvia Plath’s poem “Nick and the Candlestick” to write a response to. I respond with hope but in Sylvia Plath style (I’ve tried).

The words in red are borrowed from the original poem Nick and the Candlestick. This poem was written by her after her divorce when she was pregnant with her third child.

Sylvia-Plath Nick and the Candlestick.jpg

I am the soil. The seed’s been sowed.
Blooming flowers
Sway and grow, smiles
The earthen womb
holds many a secret
a heart within it, beats
Wrap me, pashmina shawls
keep me warm
like it, I keep snug
A chamber rich, cornucopia of nutrients
no more hollow
bundle of joy, supplies
A miracle extraordinary,
this germination
Christ! Behold thy creation
A fusion
Amalgamation of chromosomes
Prayer answered, blessing
Mitosis, Meiosis, magic unknown
this candle that burns
silently glows, bread and water we share
How big will you get?
Eros showed mercy
as he did to Gaia and Uranus
I lay straight, while you lie curled
I need a crane to haul me now
You’re a feather
You, my little one
have nothing to worry
I’ll shelter you, sleeping child
Love, love,
the crib’s waiting and so are the shepherds
The piano’s playing and yellow lights glowing
Let the mercury dip
And let the trees be decked,
Our home lit up for the Star
He sent down his star,
a bond of Cupid,
You are the baby in the barn

You can read the original poem here Nick and the Candlestick
Copyright © 2018. All Rights Reserved.


    • Thank you so much. I know but just couldn’t do so much despair. Mine is a response to Plath…with hope but in her language style. This was the toughest. I had to study the analysis of her poems before venturing out to write mine😊. Good to read your comment. Thanks again😊

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Wow you finally did a great job on todays prompt Smitha 🙂 Yes you are right this propmpt indeed came as a shock…. Gosh this is the most tough prompt i guess… I wonder what will be tomorrow as it is the last prompt. :O 😛

    Liked by 1 person

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