Anne Sexton

The Room Of My Life By Anne Sexton

The Room Of My Life By Anne Sexton

The Room Of My Life Here, in the room of my life the objects keep changing. Ashtrays to cry into, the suffering brother of the wood walls, the forty-eight keys of the typewriter each an eyeball that is never shut, the books, each a contestant in a beauty contest, the black chair, a dog coffin made o... »

The Fallen Angels By Anne Sexton

The Fallen Angels By Anne Sexton

The Fallen Angels They come on to my clean sheet of paper and leave a Rorschach blot. They do not do this to be mean, they do it to give me a sign they want me, as Aubrey Beardsley once said, to shove it around till something comes. Clumsy as I am, I do it. For I am like them – both saved and ... »

The Abortion By Anne Sexton

The Abortion By Anne Sexton

The Abortion Somebody who should have been born is gone. Just as the earth puckered its mouth, each bud puffing out from its knot, I changed my shoes, and then drove south. Up past the Blue Mountains, where Pennsylvania humps on endlessly, wearing, like a crayoned cat, its green hair, its roads sunk... »

Locked Doors By Anne Sexton

Locked Doors By Anne Sexton

Locked Doors For the angels who inhabit this town, although their shape constantly changes, each night we leave some cold potatoes and a bowl of milk on the windowsill. Usually they inhabit heaven where, by the way, no tears are allowed. They push the moon around like a boiled yam. The Milky Way is ... »

Earthworm By Anne Sexton

Earthworm By Anne Sexton

Earthworm Slim inquirer, while the old fathers sleep you are reworking their soil, you have a grocery store there down under the earth and it is well stocked with broken wine bottles, old cigars, old door knobs and earth, that great brown flour that you kiss each day. There are dark stars in the coo... »

Admonitions To A Special Person By Anne Sexton

Admonitions To A Special Person By Anne Sexton

Admonitions To A Special Person Watch out for power, for its avalanche can bury you, snow, snow, snow, smothering your mountain. Watch out for hate, it can open its mouth and you’ll fling yourself out to eat off your leg, an instant leper. Watch out for friends, because when you betray them, a... »

The Inventory Of Goodbye By Anne Sexton

The Inventory Of Goodbye By Anne Sexton

The Inventory Of Goodbye I have a pack of letters, I have a pack of memories. I could cut out the eyes of both. I could wear them like a patchwork apron. I could stick them in the washer, the drier, and maybe some of the pain would float off like dirt? Perhaps down the disposal I could grind up the ... »

The Death King By Anne Sexton

The Death King By Anne Sexton

The Death King I hired a carpenter to build my coffin and last night I lay in it, braced by a pillow, sniffing the wood, letting the old king breathe on me, thinking of my poor murdered body, murdered by time, waiting to turn stiff as a field marshal, letting the silence dishonor me, remembering tha... »

Small Wire By Anne Sexton

Small Wire By Anne Sexton

Small Wire My faith is a great weight hung on a small wire, as doth the spider hang her baby on a thin web, as doth the vine, twiggy and wooden, hold up grapes like eyeballs, as many angels dance on the head of a pin. God does not need too much wire to keep Him there, just a thin vein, with blood pu... »

In Excelsis By Anne Sexton

In Excelsis By Anne Sexton

In Excelsis It is half winter, half spring, and Barbara and I are standing confronting the ocean. Its mouth is open very wide, and it has dug up its green, throwing it, throwing it at the shore. You say it is angry. I say it is like a kicked Madonna. Its womb collapses, drunk with its fever. We brea... »

Clothes By Anne Sexton

Clothes By Anne Sexton

Clothes Put on a clean shirt before you die, some Russian said. Nothing with drool, please, no egg spots, no blood, no sweat, no sperm. You want me clean, God, so I’ll try to comply. The hat I was married in, will it do? White, broad, fake flowers in a tiny array. It’s old-fashioned, as ... »

What’s That By Anne Sexton

What’s That By Anne Sexton

What’s That Before it came inside I had watched it from my kitchen window, watched it swell like a new balloon, watched it slump and then divide, like something I know I know – a broken pear or two halves of the moon, or round white plates floating nowhere or fat hands waving in the summ... »

The Witch’s Life By Anne Sexton

The Witch’s Life By Anne Sexton

The Witch’s Life When I was a child there was an old woman in our neighborhood whom we called The Witch. All day she peered from her second story window from behind the wrinkled curtains and sometimes she would open the window and yell: Get out of my life! She had hair like kelp and a voice li... »

The Fury Of Hating Eyes By Anne Sexton

The Fury Of Hating Eyes By Anne Sexton

The Fury Of Hating Eyes I would like to bury all the hating eyes under the sand somewhere off the North Atlantic and suffocate them with the awful sand and put all their colors to sleep in that soft smother. Take the brown eyes of my father, those gun shots, those mean muds. Bury them. Take the blue... »

The Black Art By Anne Sexton

The Black Art By Anne Sexton

The Black Art A woman who writes feels too much, those trances and portents! As if cycles and children and islands weren’t enough; as if mourners and gossips and vegetables were never enough. She thinks she can warn the stars. A writer is essentially a spy. Dear love, I am that girl. A man who... »

My Friend, My Friend By Anne Sexton

My Friend, My Friend By Anne Sexton

My Friend, My Friend Who will forgive me for the things I do? With no special legend of God to refer to, With my calm white pedigree, my yankee kin, I think it would be better to be a Jew. I forgive you for what you did not do. I am impossibly quilty. Unlike you, My Friend, I can not blame my origin... »

Ghosts By Anne Sexton

Ghosts By Anne Sexton

Ghosts Some ghosts are women, neither abstract nor pale, their breasts as limp as killed fish. Not witches, but ghosts who come, moving their useless arms like forsaken servants. Not all ghosts are women, I have seen others; fat, white-bellied men, wearing their genitals like old rags. Not devils, b... »

August 17th By Anne Sexton

August 17th By Anne Sexton

August 17th Surely I will be disquieted by the hospital, that body zone- bodies wrapped in elastic bands, bodies cased in wood or used like telephones, bodies crucified up onto their crutches, bodies wearing rubber bags between their legs, bodies vomiting up their juice like detergent, Here in this ... »

The Stand-Ins By Anne Sexton

The Stand-Ins By Anne Sexton

The Stand-Ins In the dream the swastika is neon and flashes like a strobe light into my eyes, all colors, all vibrations and I see the killer in him and he turns on an oven, an oven, an oven, an oven, and on a pie plate he sticks in my Yellow Star and then then when it is ready for serving— this dre... »

The Exorcists By Anne Sexton

The Exorcists By Anne Sexton

The Exorcists And I solemnly swear on the chill of secrecy that I know you not, this room never, the swollen dress I wear, nor the anonymous spoons that free me, nor this calendar nor the pulse we pare and cover. For all these present, before that wandering ghost, that yellow moth of my summer bed, ... »

That Day By Anne Sexton

That Day By Anne Sexton

That Day This is the desk I sit at and this is the desk where I love you too much and this is the typewriter that sits before me where yesterday only your body sat before me with its shoulders gathered in like a Greek chorus, with its tongue like a king making up rules as he goes, with its tongue qu... »

Lament By Anne Sexton

Lament By Anne Sexton

Lament Someone is dead. Even the trees know it, those poor old dancers who come on lewdly, all pea-green scarfs and spine pole. I think… I think I could have stopped it, if I’d been as firm as a nurse or noticed the neck of the driver as he cheated the crosstown lights; or later in the evening... »

Doors, Doors, Doors By Anne Sexton

Doors, Doors, Doors By Anne Sexton

Doors, Doors, Doors 1. Old Man Old man, it’s four flights up and for what? Your room is hardly bigger than your bed. Puffing as you climb, you are a brown woodcut stooped over the thin tail and the wornout tread. The room will do. All that’s left of the old life is jampacked on shelves f... »

A Story For Rose On The Midnight Flight To Boston By Anne Sexton

A Story For Rose On The Midnight Flight To Boston By Anne Sexton

A Story For Rose On The Midnight Flight To Boston Until tonight they were separate specialties, different stories, the best of their own worst. Riding my warm cabin home, I remember Betsy’s laughter; she laughed as you did, Rose, at the first story. Someday, I promised her, I’ll be someo... »

The Kite By Anne Sexton

The Kite By Anne Sexton

The Kite Here, in front of the summer hotel the beach waits like an altar. We are lying on a cloth of sand while the Atlantic noon stains the world in light. It was much the same five years ago. I remember how Ezio Pinza was flying a kite for the children. None of us noticed it then. The pleated lad... »

The Death Baby By Anne Sexton

The Death Baby By Anne Sexton

The Death Baby 1. DREAMS I was an ice baby. I turned to sky blue. My tears became two glass beads. My mouth stiffened into a dumb howl. They say it was a dream but I remember that hardening. My sister at six dreamt nightly of my death: ‘The baby turned to ice. Someone put her in the refrigerat... »

Ringing The Bells By Anne Sexton

Ringing The Bells By Anne Sexton

Ringing The Bells And this is the way they ring the bells in Bedlam and this is the bell-lady who comes each Tuesday morning to give us a music lesson and because the attendants make you go and because we mind by instinct, like bees caught in the wrong hive, we are the circle of crazy ladies who sit... »

In The Deep Museum By Anne Sexton

In The Deep Museum By Anne Sexton

In The Deep Museum My God, my God, what queer corner am I in? Didn’t I die, blood running down the post, lungs gagging for air, die there for the sin of anyone, my sour mouth giving up the ghost? Surely my body is done? Surely I died? And yet, I know, I’m here. What place is this? Cold a... »

Consorting With Angels By Anne Sexton

Consorting With Angels By Anne Sexton

Consorting With Angels I was tired of being a woman, tired of the spoons and the post, tired of my mouth and my breasts, tired of the cosmetics and the silks. There were still men who sat at my table, circled around the bowl I offered up. The bowl was filled with purple grapes and the flies hovered ... »

When Man Enters Woman By Anne Sexton

When Man Enters Woman By Anne Sexton

When Man Enters Woman When man, enters woman, like the surf biting the shore, again and again, and the woman opens her mouth with pleasure and her teeth gleam like the alphabet, Logos appears milking a star, and the man inside of woman ties a knot so that they will never again be separate and the wo... »

The Wedding Ring Dance By Anne Sexton

The Wedding Ring Dance By Anne Sexton

The Wedding Ring Dance I dance in circles holding the moth of the marriage, thin, sticky, fluttering its skirts, its webs. The moth oozing a tear, or is it a drop of urine? The moth, grinning like a pear, or is it teeth clamping the iron maiden shut? The moth, who is my mother, who is my father, who... »

The Fury Of Guitars And Sopranos By Anne Sexton

The Fury Of Guitars And Sopranos By Anne Sexton

The Fury Of Guitars And Sopranos This singing is a kind of dying, a kind of birth, a votive candle. I have a dream-mother who sings with her guitar, nursing the bedroom with a moonlight and beautiful olives. A flute came too, joining the five strings, a God finger over the holes. I knew a beautiful ... »

The Big Boots Of Pain By Anne Sexton

The Big Boots Of Pain By Anne Sexton

The Big Boots Of Pain There can be certain potions needled in the clock for the body’s fall from grace, to untorture and to plead for. These I have known and would sell all my furniture and books and assorted goods to avoid, and more, more. But the other pain I would sell my life to avoid the pain t... »

Noon Walk On The Asylum Lawn By Anne Sexton

Noon Walk On The Asylum Lawn By Anne Sexton

Noon Walk On The Asylum Lawn The summer sun ray shifts through a suspicious tree. though I walk through the valley of the shadow It sucks the air and looks around for me. The grass speaks. I hear green chanting all day. I will fear no evil, fear no evil The blades extend and reach my way. The sky br... »

Gods By Anne Sexton

Gods By Anne Sexton

Gods Ms. Sexton went out looking for the gods. She began looking in the sky —expecting a large white angel with a blue crotch. No one. She looked next in all the learned books and the print spat back at her. No one She made a pilgrimage to the great poet and he belched in her face. No one. She praye... »

As It Was Written By Anne Sexton

As It Was Written By Anne Sexton

As It Was Written Earth, earth, riding your merry-go-round toward extinction, right to the roots, thickening the oceans like gravy, festering in your caves, you are becoming a latrine. Your trees are twisted chairs. Your flowers moan at their mirrors, and cry for a sun that doesn’t wear a mask... »

The Other By Anne Sexton

The Other By Anne Sexton

The Other Under my bowels, yellow with smoke, it waits. Under my eyes, those milk bunnies, it waits. It is waiting. It is waiting. Mr. Doppelganger. My brother. My spouse. Mr. Doppelganger. My enemy. My lover. When truth comes spilling out like peas it hangs up the phone. When the child is soothed a... »

The Expatriates By Anne Sexton

The Expatriates By Anne Sexton

The Expatriates My dear, it was a moment to clutch for a moment so that you may believe in it and believing is the act of love, I think, even in the telling, wherever it went. In the false New England forest where the misplanted Norwegian trees refused to root, their thick synthetic roots barging ou... »

The Angel Food Dogs By Anne Sexton

The Angel Food Dogs By Anne Sexton

The Angel Food Dogs Leaping, leaping, leaping, down line by line, growling at the cadavers, filling the holy jugs with their piss, falling into windows and mauling the parents, but soft, kiss-soft, and sobbing sobbing into their awful dog dish. No point? No twist for you in my white tunnel? Let me s... »

Lessons In Hunger By Anne Sexton

Lessons In Hunger By Anne Sexton

Lessons In Hunger ‘Do you like me?’ I asked the blue blazer. No answer. Silence bounced out of his books. Silence fell off his tongue and sat between us and clogged my throat. It slaughtered my trust. It tore cigarettes out of my mouth. We exchanged blind words, and I did not cry, and I ... »

Elegy In The Classroom By Anne Sexton

Elegy In The Classroom By Anne Sexton

Elegy In The Classroom In the thin classroom, where your face was noble and your words were all things, I find this boily creature in your place; find you disarranged, squatting on the window sill, irrefutably placed up there, like a hunk of some big frog watching us through the V of your woolen leg... »

A Curse Against Elegies By Anne Sexton

A Curse Against Elegies By Anne Sexton

A Curse Against Elegies Oh, love, why do we argue like this? I am tired of all your pious talk. Also, I am tired of all the dead. They refuse to listen, so leave them alone. Take your foot out of the graveyard, they are busy being dead. Everyone was always to blame: the last empty fifth of booze, th... »

The Interrogation Of The Man Of Many Hearts By Anne Sexton

The Interrogation Of The Man Of Many Hearts By Anne Sexton

The Interrogation Of The Man Of Many Hearts Who’s she, that one in your arms? She’s the one I carried my bones to and built a house that was just a cot and built a life that was over an hour and built a castle where no one lives and built, in the end, a song to go with the ceremony. Why ... »

The Dead Heart By Anne Sexton

The Dead Heart By Anne Sexton

The Dead Heart After I wrote this, a friend scrawled on this page, “Yes.” And I said, merely to myself, “I wish it could be for a different seizure—as with Molly Bloom and her ‘and yes I said yes I will Yes.’ It is not a turtle hiding in its little green shell. It is not a stone to pick up and... »

Said The Poet To The Analyst By Anne Sexton

Said The Poet To The Analyst By Anne Sexton

Said The Poet To The Analyst My business is words. Words are like labels, or coins, or better, like swarming bees. I confess I am only broken by the sources of things; as if words were counted like dead bees in the attic, unbuckled from their yellow eyes and their dry wings. I must always forget how... »

In Celebration Of My Uterus By Anne Sexton

In Celebration Of My Uterus By Anne Sexton

In Celebration Of My Uterus Everyone in me is a bird. I am beating all my wings. They wanted to cut you out but they will not. They said you were immeasurably empty but you are not. They said you were sick unto dying but they were wrong. You are singing like a school girl. You are not torn. Sweet we... »

Cockroach By Anne Sexton

Cockroach By Anne Sexton

Cockroach Roach, foulest of creatures, who attacks with yellow teeth and an army of cousins big as shoes, you are lumps of coal that are mechanized and when I turn on the light you scuttle into the corners and there is this hiss upon the land. Yet I know you are only the common angel turned into, by... »

The Wifebeater By Anne Sexton

The Wifebeater By Anne Sexton

The Wifebeater There will be mud on the carpet tonight and blood in the gravy as well. The wifebeater is out, the childbeater is out eating soil and drinking bullets from a cup. He strides back and forth in front of my study window chewing little red pieces of my heart. His eyes flash like a birthda... »

The Fury Of God’s Good-Bye By Anne Sexton

The Fury Of God’s Good-Bye By Anne Sexton

The Fury Of God’s Good-Bye One day He tipped His top hat and walked out of the room, ending the argument. He stomped off saying: ‘I don’t give guarantees’. I was left quite alone using up the darkness. I rolled up my sweater, up into a ball, and took it to bed with me, a kind... »

The Ballad Of The Lonely Masturbator By Anne Sexton

The Ballad Of The Lonely Masturbator By Anne Sexton

The Ballad Of The Lonely Masturbator The end of the affair is always death. She’s my workshop. Slippery eye, out of the tribe of myself my breath finds you gone. I horrify those who stand by. I am fed. At night, alone, I marry the bed. Finger to finger, now she’s mine. She’s not to... »

Music Swims Back To Me By Anne Sexton

Music Swims Back To Me By Anne Sexton

Music Swims Back To Me Wait Mister. Which way is home? They turned the light out and the dark is moving in the corner. There are no sign posts in this room, four ladies, over eighty, in diapers every one of them. La la la, Oh music swims back to me and I can feel the tune they played the night they ... »

Her Kind By Anne Sexton

Her Kind By Anne Sexton

Her Kind have gone out, a possessed witch, haunting the black air, braver at night; dreaming evil, I have done my hitch over the plain houses, light by light: lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind. A woman like that is not a woman, quite. I have been her kind. I have found the warm caves in the... »

Anna Who Was Mad By Anne Sexton

Anna Who Was Mad By Anne Sexton

Anna Who Was Mad Anna who was mad, I have a knife in my armpit. When I stand on tiptoe I tap out messages. Am I some sort of infection? Did I make you go insane? Did I make the sounds go sour? Did I tell you to climb out the window? Forgive. Forgive. Say not I did. Say not. Say. Speak Mary-words int... »

The Moss Of His Skin By Anne Sexton

The Moss Of His Skin By Anne Sexton

The Moss Of His Skin ‘Young girls in old Arabia were often buried alive next to their fathers, apparently as sacrifice to the goddesses of the tribes…’ -Harold Feldman, ‘Children of the Desert’ Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Review, Fall 1958 It was only important to smile... »

The Firebombers By Anne Sexton

The Firebombers By Anne Sexton

The Firebombers We are America. We are the coffin fillers. We are the grocers of death. We pack them in crates like cauliflowers. The bomb opens like a shoebox. And the child? The child is certainly not yawning. And the woman? The woman is bathing her heart. It has been torn out of her and as a last... »

Star-Nosed Mole By Anne Sexton

Star-Nosed Mole By Anne Sexton

Star-Nosed Mole Mole, angel-dog of the pit, digging six miles a night, what’s up with you in your sooty suit, where’s your kitchen at? I find you at the edge of our pond, drowned, numb drainer of weeds, insects floating in your belly, grubs like little fetuses bobbing and your dear face ... »

Live By Anne Sexton

Live By Anne Sexton

Live Live or die, but don’t poison everything… Well, death’s been here for a long time – it has a hell of a lot to do with hell and suspicion of the eye and the religious objects and how I mourned them when they were made obscene by my dwarf-heart’s doodle. The chief ingredie... »

Dreaming The Breasts By Anne Sexton

Dreaming The Breasts By Anne Sexton

Dreaming The Breasts Mother, strange goddess face above my milk home, that delicate asylum, I ate you up. All my need took you down like a meal. What you gave I remember in a dream: the freckled arms binding me, the laugh somewhere over my woolly hat, the blood fingers tying my shoe, the breasts han... »

Young By Anne Sexton

Young By Anne Sexton

Young A thousand doors ago when I was a lonely kid in a big house with four garages and it was summer as long as I could remember, I lay on the lawn at night, clover wrinkling over me, the wise stars bedding over me, my mother’s window a funnel of yellow heat running out, my father’s win... »

The House By Anne Sexton

The House By Anne Sexton

The House In dreams the same bad dream goes on. Like some gigantic German toy the house has been rebuilt upon its kelly-green lawn. The same dreadful set, the same family of orange and pink faces carved and dressed up like puppets who wait for their jaws to open and shut. Nineteen forty-two, ninetee... »