(1932 - 1963)




“Oh, Frieda Rebecca, of course! Ein Wunderkind, Mummy. Ein Wunderkind!” – Sylvia Plath to her Mother, just after her daughter was born on 1st April 1960.  

Sylvia Plath ficou radiante com o nascimento de sua filha, Frieda Rebecca Hughes. “Nunca me senti tão feliz na minha vida”, escreveu ela à mãe. Alguns meses, mais tarde, em 19 de Fevereiro de 1961, escreveu esta poesia, que reflecte ao mesmo tempo as alegrias da maternidade e a distância que a criança acaba por estabelecer em relação aos pais enquanto indivíduo dotado do seu próprio destino. S. Plath escolheu este poema para abrir o seu volume de poesia “Ariel”. Sobre Frieda Hughes, ver este site.




Morning Song



     Love set you going like a fat gold watch.

     The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry

     Took its place among the elements.


     Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.

     In a drafty museum, your nakedness

     Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.


     I'm no more your mother

     Than the cloud that distils a mirror to reflect its own slow

     Effacement at the wind's hand.


     All night your moth-breath

     Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:

     a far sea moves in my ear.


     One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral

     In my Victorian nightgown.

     Your mouth opens clean as a cat's. The window square


     Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try

     Your handful of notes;

     The clear vowels rise like balloons.




The birth: Her daughter is really the fruit of love between her parents. Gold watch: a beautiful machine very appreciated. Fat: fat babies are beautiful. The nurse (midwife) slapped the baby to make her cry, to begin to breathe.


 The persons assisting applaud.  The naked baby resembles a small statue in a museum. The nakedness of the baby impresses people, make them feel weak.


 The mother expects the best for her child. But she is really impotent to make her destiny. She is like a cloud that dissolves in rain, creating in the earth a mirror, that then reflects the effacement of the cloud  by the wind.


 The breathing of the baby is beautiful, it flickers. “among the flat pink roses”: The patterns of the paper in the wall (very usual in SP to refer the paper in the wall).


Mother awakes: in the silence of the night she hears the blood singing in her ears.  The baby cries. Mother comes up from the bed, still fat, heavy as a cow, in her night-gown, very long (Victorian), with patterns of flowers. The words capture the sharp, neat shape of a cat’s mouth.


 Clarity comes through the window and the stars disappear. The baby tries so “say” something; what comes out is like music. There are there open (clear) vowels that rise in the air like balloons.





Pages about Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes on this site:



Sylvia Plath


Poems on “Sylvia Plath reads” - here and here


Os meus livros sobre Sylvia Plath


Sylvia Plath: Ariel (The Restored Edition)


Sylvia Plath - Na Caverna do Barba Azul – Independente (2000)


Sylvia Plath: Lady Lazarus –Público (1992)


Zé Susto e a Bíblia dos Sonhos - Público (1995)


SYLVIA PLATH - o filme em Lisboa


HER HUSBAND - Hughes and Plath - A Marriage, by Diane Middlebrook - here and here and here and here


SYLVIA PLATH & TED HUGHES - Exhibition in New York


TED HUGHES - Collected poems - here and here


The biography of Ted Hughes, by Elaine Feinstein


Poems: Anniversary, For the Duration and Prometheus in His Crag, by Ted Hughes







Anja Beckmann - Germany