by Sylvia Plath
Stanza 5 Summary
Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
In their old anarchy to the horizon-line.
- The poem whips out some enjambment here, completing the sentence of the previous line.
- So, our speaker is carrying over that image of the "fluted bones and acanthine hair" and shows these colossal fragments stretching out to the horizon.
- It's kind of like the movie camera just pulled out for a wide shot and now we see just how big the Colossus was.
- All of this really helps us feel how massively devastating the loss of the speaker's father was for her.
- The use of the "old anarchy" not only paints a picture of the chaotic ruin spreading around the speaker, but also gives us a sense of just how long it's been there.
- We're reminded that this is a pain that the speaker has been dealing with for a while.
It would take more than a lightning-stroke
To create such a ruin.
- Here, the speaker again helps us see the vast destruction that's spreading all around her.
- It wasn't just some pip-squeaky flash of lighting that did this; it was something bigger and way more powerful.
- Could this possibly be a reference to the earthquake, which took down the original Colossus of Rhodes? Could it be a reference to nuclear weapons, which were still relatively new to the world when Plath wrote the poem?
- Whatever it is, the speaker again gets across the idea that her father's death was accompanied by some major-league devastation.
Nights, I squat in the cornucopia
Of your left ear, out of the wind,
- The speaker has taken us through her day of work and now we see how she spends her nights, taking shelter from the wind in the statue's ear.
- The description of the ear canal as a "cornucopia" is pretty great, in our humble opinion. A cornucopia is one of those kinda curvy, cone-shaped things that you usually see spilling over with the fruits of the harvest.
- So, the shape of it is actually a whole lot like an ear canal.
- It's interesting that the speaker chooses to use this symbol of thriving life in a poem that's so focused on ruin and death.
- Could it be a reference to the fact that she still gains some kind of sustenance from the memory of her father?
- Or, to go the totally opposite direction, could it represent the lack of sustenance, since the cornucopia-shaped ear canal would have to be empty for her to take shelter in it?