SELBSTBEGEGNUNGEN // Sylvia Plath, In Plaster


In Plaster

Ein Ich, und sein Gegenbild in Gips:


I shall never get out of this!  There are two of me now:

Zwiegespalten ist schon ein Spalt zu viel.

This new absolutely white person and the old yellow one,

And the white person is certainly the superior one.

She doesn’t need food, she is one of the real saints.

At the beginning I hated her, she had no personality —

She lay in bed with me like a dead body

And I was scared, because she was shaped just the way I was


Only much whiter and unbreakable and with no complaints.

Die Eine: schadhafte Persönlichkeit. Die Andere: makelloses, heiligweißes Gespenst.

I couldn’t sleep for a week, she was so cold.

I blamed her for everything, but she didn’t answer.

Sich in sich selbst zu streiten führt zu nichts…

I couldn’t understand her stupid behavior!

When I hit her she held still, like a true pacifist.

Then I realized what she wanted was for me to love her:

She began to warm up, and I saw her advantages.


Without me, she wouldn’t exist, so of course she was grateful.

I gave her a soul, I bloomed out of her as a rose

…oder vielleicht doch: zu sich als Ganzem? Nein, so billig ist das Ganze nicht zu haben.

Blooms out of a vase of not very valuable porcelain,

And it was I who attracted everybody’s attention,

Not her whiteness and beauty, as I had at first supposed.

I patronized her a little, and she lapped it up —

You could tell almost at once she had a slave mentality.

Sklavin und Herrin – voneinander, das darf man nicht aus dem Blick verlieren, wechselseitig abhängig. Was, wenn sich die Vorzeichen umkehren?


I didn’t mind her waiting on me, and she adored it.

In the morning she woke me early, reflecting the sun

From her amazingly white torso, and I couldn’t help but notice

Her tidiness and her calmness and her patience:

She humored my weakness like the best of nurses,

Holding my bones in place so they would mend properly.

Knochen bedeuten Struktur – von geduldigem Gips schützend umhüllt und fixiert.

In time our relationship grew more intense.


She stopped fitting me so closely and seemed offish.

I felt her criticizing me in spite of herself,

As if my habits offended her in some way.

She let in the drafts and became more and more absent-minded.

And my skin itched and flaked away in soft pieces

Haut dagegen bedeutet Gefühl – unter gipserner Starrheit abgestorben.

Simply because she looked after me so badly.

Then I saw what the trouble was:  she thought she was immortal.


She wanted to leave me, she thought she was superior,

And I’d been keeping her in the dark, and she was resentful —

Wasting her days waiting on a half-corpse!

And secretly she began to hope I’d die.

Then she could cover my mouth and eyes, cover me entirely,

Bösartig, diese Vorstellung von gegenseitiger Annäherung: der Einen die Anpassung an sich, die Andere, aufzuzwingen…

And wear my painted face the way a mummy-case

Wears the face of a pharaoh, though it’s made of mud and water.

…um sich dann mit der Einen schmücken zu können.


I wasn’t in any position to get rid of her.

She’d supported me for so long I was quite limp —

I had forgotten how to walk or sit,

So I was careful not to upset her in any way

Or brag ahead of time how I’d avenge myself.

Living with her was like living with my own coffin:

Yet I still depended on her, though I did it regretfully.

Wer ist nun die Sklavin?


I used to think we might make a go of it together —

After all, it was a kind of marriage, being so close.

Now I see it must be one or the other of us.

Scheidung! Nur, wie die Andere von der Einen amputieren? Wie geht Schluss machen?

She may be a saint, and I may be ugly and hairy,

But she’ll soon find out that that doesn’t matter a bit.

I’m collecting my strength; one day I shall manage without her,

And she’ll perish with emptiness then, and begin to miss me.

Aber lässt sich ein Zwiespalt rückgängig machen? Oder geht der Schluss nicht eher so: Die Eine sammelt ihre Stärke, um zu gehen, und die Andere vergeht vor lauter Leere – und beide zusammengenommen begehen diesen einen Selbstmord?

>>Gedicht aus: Sylvia Plath, Poems (Faber And Faber Ltd.)

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