Sylvia Plath, England’s Jubilee Queen and Secret Life of the British Poet Laureate
High School honor students who get permission from their parents may read this painful account of a life filled with promise, piercing perception and pain by this talented Jewish-American author. She took her own life at thirty-one. The daughter of a Russian immigrant who escaped the Nazi Holocaust, Sylvia Plath attended Smith College the alma mater of Barbara Pierce Bush, Nancy Reagan, Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, Julia Child and others closely connected to the dominant Anglo-American-Judeo-Christian and markedly Puritan Protestant New England power elites. Smith College in the 1930’s was like a lake with deep and dark canyons reserved for the schooling of America’s upwardly mobile. Like the offspring of the fierce river pike, the fish that feed on the milder species in the shallower waters above, Smith students not unlike their other Ivy League counterparts understand their preparation as America’s leadership elites. Their preparation in the pond of this inverted bell jar, the shallows of which provide abundant weaker schoolies as a source of nourishment, was meticulously designed and jealously guarded.
FDR would recall the Irish-American Ambassador and Boston patriarch whose ambitions were checked and influenced by the more powerful Puritan-Protestant Boston and New England Brahmans who were themselves compromised as FDR's Leo Crowley had proven. Wallace Simpson’s marriage to the heir of the Saxe-Gotha/Windsor crown, Edward, the Duke of Windsor, along with Rudolph Hess’ midnight flight to the estate of Lord Hamilton, provided clues to the unraveling of any notion of a movement toward democratic rule.
"To quench his thirst I squandered my blood," wrote Plath. If she was speaking of Hughes as most suspect she bears witness to that adolescent urge to look for Mr. Goodbar only to discover that as a poet his poems are like lace curtains on a slaughter house.
|Gweneth Paltrow as Sylvia Plath|
in 2003 movie.
Bly’s first wife, Carol, may have had a handle on men from which Sylvia Plath would have benefited. In 1996 she wrote Changing The Bully That Rules the World, but even this attempt to address the problems of ethics in modern life shows the paradox. Milkweed, her not for profit publisher, acknowledges the support of the Bush and McKnight Foundations. While Robert Bly, like Sylvia Plath, studied in Europe….Norway and not England….on a Fulbright scholarship, Carol attended the local Smith Ivy League alternative, Wellesley.
|Pierce Butler, Minnesota railroad attorney appointed by|
W.G. Harding to Chief Justice, William Howward Taft's
Supreme Court. To the right is Pierce Butler from
South Carolina and slaver whose massive sale of slaves in 1859
created "Weeping Time".
To their credit, Robert and Carol Bly’s poetry seems not to be in vain. Robert founded with fellow poet, David Ray, the poets' protest group American Writers Against the Vietnam War in 1966. The group included Galway Kinnell, W.S. Merwin, Allen Ginsberg, Adrienne Rich, Grace Paley, Douglas Kent Hall and Robert Lowell....all mostly incorporated within a position of privilege from which, not unlike New York's Union Seminary's William Sloan Coffin, they pointed out the moat in the eyes of their close and powerful neighbors. In the same tradition, Sam Hamill a veteran 1960’s protester like Bly and Ray, founded Poets Against the War in February 2003. When it was discovered that Hamill and other poets intended to use a White House symposium on the poetry of Dickinson, Whitman and Hughes…..Langston not Ted Hughes…..as an occasion to protest the imminent invasion of Iraq by President Bush, the president’s wife, Laura, cancelled the event. From what we now know of that war would they push for a new group called Poets for Treason Laws Enacted? It's not likely. The Sylvia Plaths of this world are nurturers. Even at the end they lay a glass of milk and cookies at their childrens' bedside. The Hughes of this world count on that. They look backwards for their vision and poetic license.
Poets and historians deal in myth, not reality. What historian has drawn the connection between Langston Hughes' grandmother's husband, Lewis Sheridan Leary, who joined John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry, to John Brown's connection to his "secret six" including Boston's George Luther Stearns who was trying to corner the lead market with the promised outbreak of Civil War? Or to Alexander Brown and the Brown family's Merchant Shot Tower in Baltimore where James Hamlet, the first black test case of the Fugitive Slave Laws pushed by Pierce Butler was making musket balls and to which he was returned....returned by a name that's legendary in U.S. intelligence circles....Federal Marshall Talmadge. What historian has noted the 19th Century mind control and public relations ploy of using a slave named Hamlet to draw attention to a law guaranteed to fuel the flames of war by the profiteers? What historian or poet has drawn connections between the first Federal soldier on the scene at Harper's Ferry, John Ewell Brown Stuart, to the Brown and Stuart clans of Baltimore, Boston, New York and Edinburgh or to the Jacobite Stuarts buried in the Vatican and surely aligned with Albert Pike or to the absence of the same JEB Stuart from battles that parallels the military record of General Braxton Bragg sending Shelby Foote's most celebrated military hero on either side of the conflict, Nathan Bedforest Forrest, into a rage? Foote respected Forrest presumably not just for the loyalty of even the blacks in his company, nor for his great military mind, but for his early assessment of the whole charade that didn't require the premature ending of the incomplete period of Reconstruction to figure out. An American Civil War would have been in the British monarchy's interest and for all of James Russell Lowell's love of the beautiful songbird, the Bobolink, wisdom dictated that wise old owls in their power elite packs....British and American war profiteers together....devour America's song of freedom, liberty and justice. Owls eat songbirds like the pike eats its own. Could it be that Sylvia Plath's dirges and dark depressions were much more than some genetic predispositioning and manic rocket shot that fizzles, plunges, crashes and burns?
Ronald Hayman's book, The Death and Life of Sylvia Plath in a chapter titled "Boston", speaks at length of Hughes' and Plath's interest in the occult. Hayman also covers her interest in living in William Butler Yeat's home in London at 23 Fitzroy Street. W.B. Yeats: A Life by R.F. Foster explores Yeat's relationship to the progenitor of Western occultism embraced by everyone from L. Ron Hubbell of The Church of Scientology, to the Kaballa movement, to Anton LeVay and Col. Michael Aquino. Winston Churchill's refusal to allow Crowley to interview Rudolf Hess after his plane crash on the Hamilton estate is well documented as is Yeat's confrontations with Crowley over the leadership of occultism in England.