The poem that was decided for this week’s assignment was Sylvia Plath’s Ariel. At first, the meaning of this poem was eluding; try as one might, the meaning behind the lines were slippery and managed to evade capture. As it is with much poetry, it took a great amount of research into Plath’s life to understand the meaning behind her words. Once when Plath and Ariel was researched in more detail, it was discovered that this poem was based off of a thrilling experience that the speaker had endured. This was a story about Plath’s horse (Davis, para. 1), Ariel, and how Ariel managed to help Plath relinquish control of her life. At the very beginning of the poem, we sense a calm and serene atmosphere (“Stasis in darkness. / Then the substanceless blue / Pour of tor and distances” [lines 1-3]). We feel the cold of the brisk winter morning and feel the sun rising in the distance. Suddenly, Plath was plunged into a void of whirlwinds and chaos. She was terrified as Ariel took off in an uncontrollable gallop (“…Pivot of heels and knees! – The furrow / … The brown arc of the neck I cannot catch [lines 6 and 9]). While lines 10-12 could be interpreted as Plath describing the horse, it seems more likely that she began to describe her surroundings (Nigger-eye / Berries cast dark / Hooks – [lines 10-12]), which is backed up by the following line (“sweet blood mouthfuls” [line 13]). On and on the gallop went, hauling her through the air (line 16).
As the gallop continued,