Sylvia Was Right

The first assignment in the writing course I took at Regent College was predicated on a statement Sylvia Plath had made – that she could not put a toothbrush in a poem. Our assigment was to do exactly that, (bonus marks for making it a love poem.) Dare I say that many bristled at the suggestion and wanted to brush it off? Okay, sorry, I won’t do that again.

I had some fun with this one and was glad I was able to capture my heart as a writer in this little ditty.

Photo by bongkarn thanyakij on
Sylvia Was Right  

I'd like to write a line that makes you laugh, 
  or moves you from your self to someone's pain,  
or opens up your eyes to see again.  
I can't do that with a toothbrush.
I long to touch your core and make you weep.  
I want the truths that I have plumbed to leap  
from my heart, to the page, to your soul,  
(like the last jig-saw piece that makes you whole).
I can't do that with a toothbrush.
Now if they'd given me a truthbrush I could try 
 to wash the blinding log out of my eye,  
or it might be used to scrub my errant heart 
free of sin's plaque. But that's an art
 that cannot be accomplished with a toothbrush.

Photo by Pietro Jeng on

So happy there is one who can transform us and cleanse us –

And now for something COMPLETELY different. My daughter came home from school in about grade 3 with this cute little song her class had to perform for a school concert. This version is a bit screechy but there is a longer sort of vaudeville version on the next clip.

So perhaps Sylvia couldn’t celebrate a toothbrush – but aren’t we all learning to appreciate and be grateful for the mundane things we have taken for granted. Perhaps a good thing to do today would be to make a list for the many gifts in your life – including your toothbrush. Be blessed today.

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