THE GORING (by Sylvia Plath)

Arena dust rusted by four bulls’ blood to a dull redness,
The afternoon at a bad end under the crowd’s truculence,
The ritual death each time botched among dropped capes, ill-judged stabs,
The strongest will seemed a will towards ceremony. Obese, dark-
Faced in his rich yellows, tassels, pompons, braid, the picador

Rode out against the fifth bull to brace his pike and slowly bear
Down deep into the bent bull-neck. Cumbrous routine, not artwork.
Instinct for art began with the bull’s horn lofting in the mob’s
Hush a lumped man-shape. The whole act formal, fluent as a dance.
Blood faultlessly broached redeemed the sullied air, the earth’s grossness.

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NEW YEAR ON DARTMOOR (by Sylvia Plath)

This is newness : every little tawdry
Obstacle glass-wrapped and peculiar,
Glinting and clinking in a saint’s falsetto. Only you
Don’t know what to make of the sudden slippiness,
The blind, white, awful, inaccessible slant.
There’s no getting up it by the words you know.
No getting up by elephant or wheel or shoe.
We have only come to look. You are too new
To want the world in a glass hat.