Poem by Sylvia Plath
by Mike Keith
The second poem below (including the title and author line) is an anagram of the first. The "hook" here was to update the technology into the computer age, but some other unexpected features (such as "ice" for "mud") appeared as a result of the anagrammatic constraint.
Words heard, by accident, over the phone
O mud, mud, how fluid! --
Thick as foreign coffee, and with a sluggy pulse.
Speak, speak! Who is it?
It is the bowel-pulse, lover of digestibles.
It is he who has achieved these syllables.
What are these words, these words?
They are plopping like mud.
O god, how shall I ever clean the phone table?
They are pressing out of the many-holed earpiece,
they are looking for a listener.
Is he here?
Now the room is ahiss. The instrument
Withdraws its tentacle.
But the spawn percolate in my heart. They are fertile.
Muck funnel, muck funnel --
You are too big. They must take you back!
Things seen, awkwardly, in her video phone
O ice, ice, how knife-edged! --
Cold as the arctic winter, with but a hint of life.
Peep, peep! Who goes there?
I spy the heart-murmur, the lad playful.
He who has erupted forth as an ugly eyeful.
What belie these visions, these visions?
They melt as the polar ice.
So, shall the keyboard ever work again?
These graphic windows pollute my desktop,
seeking someone to liberate them.
The disk salivates. The machine's shell
Offers a directory,
But no single truth can be found. Daily her tally grows.
Base octal, base octal --
You are hurtful. You must now shut down!