The Present is Forever

Explore Sylvia Plath's contemplation of existence and time in her unparalleled journals. Uncover the profound insights in our interactive lessons.

The Present is Forever
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In the following passage, Sylvia Plath confronts the transient nature of life, likening the present to quicksand, a vivid metaphor for time's relentless pull. Beyond the cliché of time's flight, we confront the struggle against becoming history's footnote. Plath offers a stark reminder of our collective march towards oblivion, yet paradoxically, it unites us with every human who has ever lived, anchoring our fleeting existence in the broader human story.
With me, the present is forever, and forever is always shifting, flowing, melting. This second is life. And when it is gone, it is dead. But you can't start over with each new second. You have to judge by what is dead. It's like quicksand... hopeless from the start.
A story, a picture, can renew sensation a little, but not enough, not enough. Nothing is real except the present, and already, I feel the weight of centuries smothering me.
Some girl a hundred years ago once lived as I do. And she is dead. I am the present, but I know I, too, will pass. The high moment, the burning flash, come and are gone, continuous quicksand. And I don't want to die.

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Sylvia Plath Collection