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National Poetry Month Meme (Pt. 1)

I'm sitting here wondering what percentage of this country takes poetry seriously, and it's a depressing thought, especially when I begin cross-referencing it with all the other important things in the world that people in this country don't seem to take seriously.

Caitlín, just shut up and post the poem.

"Wanting to Die" (Anne Sexton)

Since you ask, most days I cannot remember.
I walk in my clothing, unmarked by that voyage.
Then almost unnameable lust returns.

Even then I have nothing against life.
I know well the grass blades you mention,
the furniture you have placed under the sun.

But suicides have a special language.
Like carpenters they want to know
which tools.
They never ask
why build.

Twice I have so simply declared myself ,
have possessed the enemy, eaten the enemy,
have taken on his craft, his magic.

In this way, heavy and thoughtful,
warmer than oil or water,
I have rested, drooling at the mouth-hole.

I did not think of my body at needle point.
Even the cornea and the leftover urine were gone.
Suicides have already betrayed the body.

Still-born, they don't always die,
but dazzled, they can't forget a drug so sweet
that even children would look on and smile.

To thrust all that life under your tongue!—
that, all by itself, becomes a passion.
Death's a sad bone; bruised, you'd say,

and yet she waits for me, year after year,
to so delicately undo an old wound,
to empty my breath from its bad prison.

Balanced there, suicides sometimes meet,
raging at the fruit, a pumped-up moon,
leaving the bread they mistook for a kiss,

leaving the page of the book carelessly open,
something unsaid, the phone off the hook
and the love, whatever it was, an infection.


—February 3, 1964

Comments

( 8 comments — Have your say! )
tagplazen
Apr. 9th, 2006 08:11 pm (UTC)
It doesn't hurt that when Anne Sexton was young, she had the perfect noir sex thing going on.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 10th, 2006 04:22 am (UTC)
It doesn't hurt that when Anne Sexton was young, she had the perfect noir sex thing going on.


True.
sisyphusiren
Apr. 10th, 2006 01:25 am (UTC)
1. That really is something, I've never read Anne Sexton before (it's one of those things I've never gotten around to) and I think I'll be making an effort to fix that soon.
2. I have written an astronomy paper on the parts of the Voyager mission that almost didn't happen and would like to title it "Between the Heliopause and the Deep Green Sea," since I will clearly be stealing my title directly from you, I wanted to ask if it was OK first. Is it OK?
greygirlbeast
Apr. 10th, 2006 04:21 am (UTC)
2. I have written an astronomy paper on the parts of the Voyager mission that almost didn't happen and would like to title it "Between the Heliopause and the Deep Green Sea," since I will clearly be stealing my title directly from you, I wanted to ask if it was OK first. Is it OK?

Of course, it's okay. I'm flattered.
sovay
Apr. 10th, 2006 01:46 am (UTC)
I had never read this; thank you.
greygirlbeast
Apr. 10th, 2006 04:21 am (UTC)
I had never read this; thank you.

You're welcome.
setsuled
Apr. 10th, 2006 08:24 am (UTC)
Morrissey, "You Have Killed Me" (yes, still)

I've been listening to his new album a lot. I like it better than his previous one.

That's a good Anne Sexton poem. I'm still having trouble getting a hold of one of her books. I look for a day or two, then forget about it for long periods. It's like that with a lot of things for me...
eldritch00
Apr. 11th, 2006 05:54 am (UTC)
Whoa. I've been listening to Morrissey (not the new release but the glammy Your Arsenal) the last two days. AND that Anne Sexton poem struck a little too close to home last week.
( 8 comments — Have your say! )