Friday, May 28, 2010

favorite things (28) anne sexton

i fell head over heels in love with anne sexton my first year of college in poetry workshops. most of my classmates had the sylvia plath heart throb thing going on, not me, i was all about anne from the get go. in high school i had taken a female poetry class & considered myself a burgeoning writer/poet.

the spoken/written word lost some traction when i found myself walking down the visual arts path & really knew that's where i wanted to head. text/word/ramblings/snippets/the essence that is caught up in poetry i still love. when something is written just so. just so & it touches some little tremor inside that makes sense. i love that. anne sexton does that for me. i know there must be a host of other women writers that are passing me by as i immerse myself further into the visual art world...but damn, sometimes life is just too short - when do i get to sink my teeth back into the writing world while pursuing an art world dream?! never enough time! i still try to marry the two worlds, i still make work that has lots of text in it.

a former student of mine, & a super friend now is studying the written word in ny - it's very exciting to be on the periphery of her dream & i feel honored to be privvy to some of her inner thoughts & poems. my friend katrina is an amazing writer. i wish to hold a bound collection of hers in my hand and call it mine. someday i will. i love poets/writers, they are fantastically amazing & brilliant to me.

back to anne, & to the first poem i ever loved by her. it might seem a strange choice for a college freshman to attach herself too. i had no lover, nor did i have a love that was returning to his wife. but something in this piece moves me, and it still does. it's ferocious & quiet, dreamy & violent, sexy, bittersweet, angry & lovely. i have since read everything by her & her biographies. fascinating, amazing woman.

& stephanie am i remebering correctly that you were very fond of the poem her kind?

"for my lover, returning to his wife"
by anne sexton

She is all there.
She was melted carefully down for you
and cast up from your childhood,
cast up from your one hundred favorite aggies.

She has always been there, my darling.
She is, in fact, exquisite.
Fireworks in the dull middle of February
and as real as a cast-iron pot.

Let's face it, I have been momentary.
A luxury. A bright red sloop in the harbor.
My hair rising like smoke from the car window.
Littleneck clams out of season.

She is more than that. She is your have to have,
has grown you your practical your tropical growth.
This is not an experiment. She is all harmony.
She sees to oars and oarlocks for the dinghy,

has placed wild flowers at the window at breakfast,
sat by the potter's wheel at midday,
set forth three children under the moon,
three cherubs drawn by Michelangelo,

done this with her legs spread out
in the terrible months in the chapel.
If you glance up, the children are there
like delicate balloons resting on the ceiling.

She has also carried each one down the hall
after supper, their heads privately bent,
two legs protesting, person to person,
her face flushed with a song and their little sleep.

I give you back your heart.
I give you permission --

for the fuse inside her, throbbing
angrily in the dirt, for the bitch in her
and the burying of her wound --
for the burying of her small red wound alive --

for the pale flickering flare under her ribs,
for the drunken sailor who waits in her left pulse,
for the mother's knee, for the stocking,
for the garter belt, for the call --

the curious call
when you will burrow in arms and breasts
and tug at the orange ribbon in her hair
and answer the call, the curious call.

She is so naked and singular
She is the sum of yourself and your dream.
Climb her like a monument, step after step.
She is solid.

As for me, I am a watercolor.
I wash off.


Bonney boys said...

uh. this is so weird. I have this poem written down in my journal from my senior year AP Lit class.
also, the following year, when Andrea and I were in NYC for New Years', we saw an exhibit at the library that was all handwritten excerpts from poets, and the one I remember the most was Anne Sexton's.

Cydney Alexis said...

Steph, how do you remember that you have this written in that journal? You amaze me. This poem is beautiful, difficult, sad. The turn at the end is perplexing. Need to read it again.