Archive for November, 2009

Anne Sexton – Divorce

Posted in Poems by others on November 14, 2009 by paulscotaugust

Anne Sexton’s birthday was last week on November 9th, and I meant to post this poem then, but never got around to it. I find her poetry to be hit or miss, but more of the former. Some of it blows me away, and some of it does nothing for me. A couple of years ago, when I bought a large lot of poetry books, all of her original editions were in the boxes. And I’ve found every book has a handful of amazing poems in them, and the more I read them, the more I see there was more to her work than merely confession. This one continues to haunt me.


I have killed our lives together,
axed off each head,
with their poor blue eyes stuck in a beach ball
rolling separately down the drive.
I have killed all the good things,
but they are too stubborn for me.
They hang on.
The little words of companionship
have crawled into their graves,
the thread of compassion,
dear as a strawberry,
the mingling of bodies
that bore two daughters within us,
the look of you dressing,
all the separate clothes, neat and folded,
you sitting on the edge of the bed
polishing your shoes with boot black,
and I loved you then, so wise from the shower,
and I loved you many other times
and I have been, for months,
trying to drown it,
to push it under,
to keep its great red tongue
under like a fish, but wherever I look they are on fire,
the bass, the bluefish, the wall-eyed flounder
blazing among the kelp and seaweed
like many suns battering up the waves
and my love stays bitterly glowing,
spasms of it will not sleep,
and I am helpless and thirsty and need shade
but there is no one to cover me –
not even God.

Anne Sexton

To Bedlam and Part Way Back (1960)
All My Pretty Ones (1962)
Live or Die (1966) – Winner of the Pulitzer prize in 1967
Love Poems (1969)
Transformations (1971)
The Book of Folly (1972)
The Awful Rowing Toward God (1975; posthumous)
45 Mercy Street (1976; posthumous)