Nick and the Candlestick By Watermelon Farmer Ali and Kavinda Nick and the Candlestick- Poem I am a miner. The light burns blue. Waxy stalactites Drip and thicken, tears Its first communion out of my live toes. The candle Gulps and recovers its small altitude, The earthen womb Its yellows hearten. O love, how did you get here? O embryo Exudes from its dead boredom. Black bat airs Wrap me, raggy shawls, Cold homicides. They weld to me like plums. Old cave of calcium Icicles, old echoer. Even the newts are white, Those holy Joes. And the fish, the fish---Christ! They are panes of ice, A vice of knives, A piranha Religion, drinking Its first communion out of my live toes. The candle Gulps and recovers its small altitude, Remembering, even in sleep, Your crossed position. The blood blooms clean In you, ruby. The pain You wake to is not yours. Love, love, I have hung our cave with roses. With soft rugs---The last of Victoriana. Let the stars Plummet to their dark address, Let the mercuric Atoms that cripple drip Into the terrible well, You are the one Solid the spaces lean on, envious. You are the baby in the barn. Overview • Plath seems to be describing, in detail, her pregnancy with Nicholas, her son. • The parasitic nature of the "thing" inside her horrifies her at first, and yet she still loves it. "I am a miner, the light burns blue." • Miners would be in a cave. which would be the earth's womb, reference to her own womb. • Blue light could conjure up an image of a dying flame, which would show that the miner is about to be suffocated, and as such Plath is afraid for the baby’s life. • Another , possible interpretation is that the miner is a metaphor for the child. The miner explores the depths of the earth, while the child, not yet born to the world, explores his mother’s womb. • The blue light, could conjure a contrasting image of a strong, bright blue flame, hence referring to the start of the baby’s life. "Waxy stalactites Drip and thicken, tears" • The waxy stalactites are dripping wax from the warning candle worn by the miner, and also the stalactites of the cave. • The cave is a symbol of her womb, while the stalactites could represent her bones. • The candle’s stalactites show the candle is steadily burning away and could represent that the baby, that has yet to be born, is already dying. • Tears would show Plath’s fear of the baby dying "The earthen womb" • Plath compares a dark suffocating cave to a womb. • Showing once more Plath’s fears that her womb is killing (suffocating) the child rather than giving it life. "Dead Boredom" • Dead boredom could be compared to an ancient cave, where there is nothing to do but listen to the maddening dripping as stalactites lengthen, and time sucks your life and sanity. • As such, Plath feels bored by the long wait for her baby to be born. Meanwhile, the baby sucks nutrients like a deadly parasite, and so reducing Plath to a ‘living dead’ most of the time where she would have to just sit in “Dead Boredom”. Plath would also have felt lots of pain and nausea during the ten months of pregnancy, eroding her sanity. Black bat airs// Wrap me, raggy shawls, Cold homicides. They weld to me like plums. • This refers to a miner on his last breath, before suffocation through lack of oxygen. • The baby is sucking her breath, suffocating Plath. "Those holy Joes. And the fish, the fish---Christ! They are panes of ice,// A vice of knives, A piranha Religion, drinking" • Religion is first mentioned here, and foreshadows the end lines. It is also like a symbol that the child is sent by God, though maybe not necessarily the most comforting gift. • Fish are a symbol of resurrection and fertility in many religions. However, Piranha’s are fish that feed on blood, which is just like the fetus (the symbol of fertility) feeds on her for its life. "The candle Gulps and recovers its small altitude, Its yellows hearten. O love, how did you get here? O embryo Remembering, even in sleep, Your crossed position. The blood blooms clean • The candle recovering its altitude, and the flame yellowing, is a turning point, where Plath feels that the baby will survive. • She refers to love, which shows her adoration to the child. She is surprised at how something like a baby, symbolic of life, fertility, hope and even holiness (“crossed position”), could be formed in such a dark, and empty place, such as her womb. • Plath realizes, in remembrance of her baby, that her own problems will not reach her baby, because the blood is filtered. Making her child a symbol of hope for her to break free of her current difficult life. • Alliteration of the “b” sounds like the heartbeat of the child, and is used as an emphasis. “Let the mercuric Atoms that cripple drip Into the terrible well" • Mercury has been known to cause birth defects, and is poisonous. • Plath is still afraid that her sense of impureness and her worries, will go to the “terrible well”, that is her uterus, to poison her child. "You are the one Solid the spaces lean on, envious. You are the baby in the barn." • Plath is awed by the baby’s ability to survive, in what Plath believes is a hostile environment. • The baby in the barn, could refer to Jesus, and makes her child symbolic of hope and all that is holy to her. Summary • Nick and the Candlestick by Sylvia Plath, is a poem that describes Plath’s pain, feelings and fears during her pregnancy, with Nicholas, her first son.