Two Swan Songs

Two Swan Songs

Both Sylvia Plath and Nilgun Marmara made their statements in life and in their poetry. Plath wrote for about seven years (1956-1963) and gassed herself on February 11, aged 30. Marmara wrote for ten years (1977-87) and decided to end her life on October 13, 1987, aged 29.

Plath’s and Marmara’s lives and works reflect a kaleidoscopic nature of existence, a life made up of many fragments and defying rational explanation and categorization. After The Colossus was published, many critics were fascinated by Plath’s revelation of both physical and mental pain and the stunning use of the limits of the English language. The same can be said for Marmara’s poetry, which is a sort of epitaph to the ‘I’ lost in time and haunted by the very reality of death. But Plath is fascinated with the idea of death to the extent that she can be said to be ‘conjuring with the unknown’. Here is Plath in ‘Lady Lazarus’:

On Plath by Nigun Marmara

Is an art, like everything else
I do it exceptionally well.

Almost the same resolve for death is present in Marmara’s ‘Swan Song’:

My poems, swan songs before death
The black gowned nightwatch secrets of my rolling life

Every pain I’ve postponed for so long
Is cracking now, and a new song starts
–this poem–

As my life and my unknown parts stagger
I’ve gotta stay a friend to me and to you all

‘Cause it has split from the aggressive
From the great desire that breaks its sleep
–this poem–
If it takes its magic from a sincerity
then lives its own pure violence
The quiet-space of the beauties I cannot make
the obedient reflection of the unattainable
calls out your name
with love!

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