Dear Sylvia (Poem)

Originally written to be performed at an Art After Dark event as part of the 2015 Spectrum Now Festival, at the Australian Centre for Photography, Paddington, on 19 March 2015.  

Subsequently published on the ACP website here:

The starting point for this poem was the title of one of the exhibitions at the gallery at the time, called Dear Sylvia, which had been curated with Sylvia Plath in mind.

Plath is a writer whose work and life I feel a strong connection to every time I read it. I often recognise parts of myself in Plath’s struggle to understand and be understood.

Having faced depression before, I’ve learned to try and see what I’m feeling from outside of my self – for that darkness to be something I can see myself in, and thus at the same time see myself out of.

To varying degrees of success.   


Dear Sylvia

Awake, arise, lift your gaze
Beyond the setting sun

See the futility of inevitability
Let the walls around you fall
Like the icons in your halls

Throw the shackles from your ankles
Starve your childhood-reared protectors
They served well. They’re not you.
So take one step and through

And, if that it isn’t you
Walk around it to the other side

Where the sun will rise again
Where I will be standing
In whatever shape you get here

I too fear the darkness, dear Sylvia.

Mark Riboldi 2015.


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