This poem’s structure is composed by two stanzas with ten lines each and free verses. It is very similar to narrative in its structure. The rhyme schema is composed by off-rhymes, such as: “horizontal/soil” (lines 1, 2); “love/leaf”(lines 3, 4); “unpetal/immortal”(lines lines 7, 8); and so on. There are also some other elements which are able to sustain rhythm in this poem as line 19th, for example:
“And I shall be useful when I lie down finally:”
In this line the words “shall” and “down” are internal line off-rhyme, which is also an element used by the poet to introduce sonority in the poem.
There is some adjectives used (unpetal, startling, daring and so on), and we can imagine some colors during our reading: in the first stanza we can imagine a garden in a sunny day, maybe it is the end of summer and soon the autumn starts; in the second stanza we can see the same scenery, but, at night.
The poem’s mood is not composed by an over exploited sentimentalism, is more direct, cleaner, even greyer if we want to use a metaphor for that. Greyer because that is the poem’s atmosphere, although we mention we can imagine a sunny day in first stanza, it is a sunny day in a grey cloud, maybe because autumn is already coming. It is a season which is coming and a lyrical self state of mind.
This poem is written among 1956-1960 and it is a good example of what we can expect from a poem by Sylvia Plath, including the features which are mentioned by Christopher Beach’s in his book: The Cambridge Introduction to Twentieth- Century American Poetry
“It (the confessionalism mood) also allowed poets to articulate feelings, thoughts, and emotions that challenged the decorum of an era marked by its containment of psychic needs and desires” (p. 155)
So, in “I’m vertical” we have many examples of the confessional poetry which has Sylvia Plath as an important representative figure. Starting with the title we can think what means the position “vertical”: something which needs a base, a structure to be sustained in that position or something which is stuck in the ground. We can imagine this base as deep roots and in this sense we can relate to the image of the tree. When, in the first line there is a contradiction: “But I would rather be horizontal.” Thinking about Plath’s poems the first thing we can think is the horizontal position meaning a dead body buried (what is affirmed at the end of the poem) but, if we are able to think in all psychological issues within the confessional poetry and how deep and personal they are, the “horizontal” could be seen, in a first look, as contraposition between deep and superficial.
The poem is written in first person and as it has a confessional mood and it has an emotional tone that can be related to fate, in the sense that mankind intellect makes men apart from its human nature, there is some kind of contemplative sorrow.
Fate in the poem is the nature cycle of life, when fall came and the petals and leaves goes...