After whose stroke the wood rings,
And the echoes!
Off from the centre like horses."
--Sylvia Plath, in "Words"
I'm adding Sylvia Plath's "Winter Trees" to my poetry links on the left.
Plath, mother of two young children, killed herself at age 30 in 1963. She first tried to kill herself when she was 20.
It's not definitively known whether Plath herself endured an abortion. Her husband destroyed several of her journals after her death. Paul Alexander, in his 1999 biography Rough Magic, claims that she terminated a pregnancy in the mid-50s when she was offered a Fulbright.
Also, in "The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath", for the entry dated 28 August 1957, on page 306 & 307, while writing about incidents and ideas for her writings, Plath writes,
"The moors and Cambridge. Paris & Benidorm - to master these places and people. Abortion. Suicide. Affairs. Cruelty. All those I know. How everything shrinks on return - you can't go home again...."
Plath killed herself shortly after learning that her husband, poet Ted Hughes, was carrying on an affair with Assia Wevill, and that Assia was pregnant. Assia and Hughes aborted that child three weeks after Plath's suicide. These events were recounted by a knowledgeable family friend in The Guardian in 1999.
Two years after Plath's suicide, Assia Wevill and Ted Hughes bore a daughter, Shura. Four years later, Assia killed herself and Shura.
The wet dawn inks are doing their blue dissolve.
On their blotter of fog the trees
Seem a botanical drawing.
Memories growing, ring on ring,
A series of weddings.
Knowing neither abortions nor bitchery,
Truer than women,
They seed so effortlessly!
Tasting the winds, that are footless,
Waist-deep in history.
Full of wings, otherworldliness.
In this, they are Ledas.
O mother of leaves and sweetness
Who are these pietas?
The shadows of ringdoves chanting, but chasing nothing.