Blue Moles


They're out of the dark's ragbag, these two

Moles dead in the pebbled rut,

Shapeless as flung gloves, a few feet apart ---

Blue suede a dog or fox has chewed.

One, by himself, seemed pitiable enough,

Little victim unearthed by some large creature

From his orbit under the elm root.

The second carcass makes a duel of the affair:

Blind twins bitten by bad nature.


The sky's far dome is sane and clear.

Leaves, undoing their yellow caves

Between the road and the lake water,

Bare no sinister spaces. Already

The moles look neutral as the stones.

Their corkscrew noses, their white hands

Uplifted, stiffen in a family pose.

Difficult to imagine how fury struck ---

Dissolved now, smoke of an old war.



Nightly the battle-shouts start up

In the ear of the veteran, and again

I enter the soft pelt of the mole.

Light's death to them: they shrivel in it.

They move through their mute rooms while I sleep,

Palming the earth aside, grubbers

After the fat children of root and rock.

By day, only the topsoil heaves.

Down there one is alone.


Outsize hands prepare a path,

They go before: opening the veins,

Delving for the appendages

Of beetles, sweetbreads, shards -- to be eaten

Over and over. And still the heaven

Of final surfeit is just as far

From the door as ever. What happens between us

Happens in darkness, vanishes

Easy and often as each breath.




Sylvia Plath (1960)