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.
Posted by:Smitha V

A banker by profession, a blogger by choice, a poet by accident, and an artist at heart. Imperfectly perfect - that's me. Welcome to my world!

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

  1. You managed it well – very well. It indeed was a tough one to crack. I have been wondering – how do you do this. Poetry is one that I tread with care so I am in awe since yesterday night reading one after the other. Each so beautiful and well crafted.


    1. Gosh! I missed you Pranitha. Missed your meaningful comments. With you having read the poems, I now close the NaPoWriMo chapter. The book lay open awaiting your comments and I’m not exaggerating. Thank you for taking your time to read all the poems and sharing your feelings on them. It means a lot considering you’ve got so much going on around you. I’m so glad you enjoyed the poetry journey I took. XXX

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Believe me, since that message the other day, I am just waiting for an opportunity to get here and check if all was well. You see I am not very good with being patient. So yesterday night, I was determined. And how I enjoyed everyone. But Holidays and I see you in the darkest night will be my favorite. It shook me up a bit – like I said even close to tears. Will explain about that when we meet (here is another one)


        1. I believe you and well, yes I can see you are not that patient. You seemed to have been on a reading spree last night and I was fortunate to be the chosen one:) Both the ones you chose were winners, so all I can say is you have great choice. The one on Success also won and will be published in their half-yearly anthology. I’m not sure how much time we’ll need this time with so many topics lined up :).

          Liked by 1 person

    1. 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

  2. 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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