Poem about life as a tree?
July 18, 2011 6:12 PM   Subscribe

What is the poem about branches of a tree, i.e. choices in life, withering when the narrator can't bring herself to pick one?

There's a poem by a female writer. It goes through the life of the narrator, moving from a time when she has many choices (branches of a tree) to a time when, because she didn't choose from among them, they withered and she had fewer or no choices. The gist was that you need to pick one of your many tantalizing choices and start developing that path.
posted by ramenopres to Writing & Language (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: It's not a poem, it's a passage from The Bell Jar.
posted by bunderful at 6:14 PM on July 18, 2011

Response by poster: Ooh... thanks. Can you point me to the chapter or section?
posted by ramenopres at 6:15 PM on July 18, 2011

Response by poster: Never mind... got it.

I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.
~Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, Chapter 7
posted by ramenopres at 6:17 PM on July 18, 2011 [18 favorites]

I think about this passage so often, though I last read it at least 15 or 20 years ago. (well, until just now.). Funny what sticks with you.
posted by onlyconnect at 7:21 PM on July 18, 2011

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