Mad Girl’s Love Song Poem Summary and Line by Line Analysis by Sylvia Plath in English


American poet Sylvia Plath wrote the poem “Mad Girl’s Love Song” in 1953. The poem addresses both heartache and psychological issues, as implied by its title. The speaker bemoans a lost love while implying constantly that this love was only ever a fabrication of her thoughts. The women’s publication Mademoiselle’s August 1953 edition was the first to publicly release “Mad Girl’s Love Song.”

About The Poet

Poet, novelist, and short-story writer Sylvia Plath was an American. She is well known and is credited with pioneering the confessional poetry niche. She was born in Jamaica Plain, Boston, Massachusetts, on October 27, 1932, and died in Primrose Hill, London, on February 11, 1963. Plath struggled with mental illness for much of her brief life. 

Theme Of The Poem

The speaker is evidently in pain and tends to swing between detachment and denial to deal with her suffering. She closes her eyes, continuously denying the existence of her partner, and detaches from the reality of her life. It is also possible to say that the poetry incorporates illusion. There is no denying the theme of love’s insanity.

Stanza 1

"I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The poet states in the first stanza that everything fades when she shuts her eyes and tries to forget everything. However, when she raises her lids once again, everything is once more in front of her eyes. It’s clear from this that she wants to escape her agony and the truth.

Stanza 2

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

She describes how she sees arbitrary blackness galloping in as the stars are strolling out in blue and red. This verse alludes to how challenging it may be to recognize the beauty that exists when one is feeling so down and upset about something like a failed relationship. Although the stars indeed glitter and shine, it is difficult to enjoy them when the world around you seems so barren and gloomy.

Stanza 3

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The poet had a dream that her lover had charmed her into bed. She talks about him singing to her and his intense love for her. She is now so devastated that she is wondering if the relationship ever happened.

Stanza 4

God topples from the sky, hell's fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan's men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

She further elaborates that God fallen from the heavens, and the flames of hell have gone out, Seraphim and Satan’s soldiers have left. In the fourth stanza, the poet returns to grieving the loss. This verse implies that everything is simply lost. The speaker has come to terms with the fact that her beloved will never return.

Stanza 5

I fancied you'd return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The speaker admits that she believed her lover would return since he promised to do so. But given how much time has passed, she realises he won’t be coming back. She is once more compelled to question whether their love ever did exist to begin with. Maybe she felt more in their relationship than there actually was.

Stanza 6

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)"

She now regrets not falling in love with a thunderbird because at least they roar back in the spring. She begins to distrust their entire relationship in this way and bitterly regrets giving her lover so much of herself.