Anne Sexton
45 Mercy Street by Anne Sexton

45 Mercy Street by Anne Sexton

In my dream, drilling into the marrow of my entire bone, my real dream, I'm walking up and down Beacon Hill searching for a street sign - namely MERCY STREET. Not there. ...

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To A Friend Whose Work Has Come To Triumph by Anne Sexton

To A Friend Whose Work Has Come To Triumph by Anne Sexton

Consider Icarus, pasting those sticky wintgs on, testing that strange little tug at his shoulder blade, and think of that first flawless moment over the lawn of the labyrinth. ...

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Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty) by Anne Sexton

Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty) by Anne Sexton

Consider a girl who keeps slipping off, arms limp as old carrots, into the hypnotist's trance, into a spirit world speaking with the gift of tongues. She is stuck in the ...

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After Auschwitz by Anne Sexton

After Auschwitz by Anne Sexton

Anger, as black as a hook, overtakes me. Each day, each Nazi took, at 8: 00 A.M., a baby and sauteed him for breakfast in his frying pan. And death looks on with a ...

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The Ballad Of The Lonely Masturbator by Anne Sexton

The Ballad Of The Lonely Masturbator by Anne Sexton

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, ...

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Courage by Anne Sexton

Courage by Anne Sexton

It is in the small things we see it.The child's first step, as awesome as an earthquake.The first time you rode a bike, wallowing up the sidewalk.The first spanking when your ...

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Again And Again And Again by Anne Sexton

Again And Again And Again by Anne Sexton

You said the anger would come back just as the love did. I have a black look I do not like. It is a mask I try on. I migrate toward it and its frog sits on my lips and defecates. ...

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Barefoot by Anne Sexton

Barefoot by Anne Sexton

Loving me with my shoes offmeans loving my long brown legs, sweet dears, as good as spoons; and my feet, those two childrenlet out to play naked. Intricate nubs, my toes. No ...

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Cinderella by Anne Sexton

Cinderella by Anne Sexton

You always read about it: the plumber with the twelve childrenwho wins the Irish Sweepstakes.From toilets to riches.That story.Or the nursemaid, some luscious sweet from ...

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Christmas Eve by Anne Sexton

Christmas Eve by Anne Sexton

Oh sharp diamond, my mother! I could not count the cost of all your faces, your moods- that present that I lost. Sweet girl, my deathbed, my jewel-fingered lady, your portrait ...

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Anna Who Was Mad by Anne Sexton

Anna Who Was Mad by Anne Sexton

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 ...

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Baby Picture by Anne Sexton

Baby Picture by Anne Sexton

It's in the heart of the grapewhere that smile lies.It's in the good-bye-bow in the hairwhere that smile lies.It's in the clerical collar of the dresswhere that smile lies.What ...

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Her Kind by Anne Sexton

Her Kind by Anne Sexton

have gone out, a possessed witch, haunting the black air, braver at night; dreaming evil, I have done my hitchover the plain houses, light by light: lonely thing, twelve-fingered, ...

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The Kiss by Anne Sexton

The Kiss by Anne Sexton

My mouth blooms like a cut.I've been wronged all year, tediousnights, nothing but rough elbows in themand delicate boxes of Kleenex calling crybabycrybaby, you fool! Before today ...

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Cigarettes And Whiskey And Wild, Wild Women by Anne Sexton

Cigarettes And Whiskey And Wild, Wild Women by Anne Sexton

(from a song) Perhaps I was born kneeling, born coughing on the long winter, born expecting the kiss of mercy, born with a passion for quicknessand yet, as things progressed, I ...

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All My Pretty Ones by Anne Sexton

All My Pretty Ones by Anne Sexton

Father, this year's jinx rides us apart where you followed our mother to her cold slumber; a second shock boiling its stone to your heart,leaving me here to shuffle and ...

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An Obsessive Combination Of Onotological Inscape, Trickery And Love by Anne Sexton

An Obsessive Combination Of Onotological Inscape, Trickery And Love by Anne Sexton

Busy, with an idea for a code, I writesignals hurrying from left to right, or right to left, by obscure routes, for my own reasons; taking a word like writesdown tiers of tries ...

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A Curse Against Elegies by Anne Sexton

A Curse Against Elegies by Anne Sexton

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 ...

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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

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, ...

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Buying The Whore by Anne Sexton

Buying The Whore by Anne Sexton

You are the roast beef I have purchasedand I stuff you with my very own onion.You are a boat I have rented by the hourand I steer you with my rage until you run aground.You are a ...

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And One For My Dame by Anne Sexton

And One For My Dame by Anne Sexton

A born salesman, my father made all his dough by selling wool to Fieldcrest, Woolrich and Faribo. A born talker, he could sell one hundred wet-down bales of that white stuff. He ...

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Suicide Note by Anne Sexton

Suicide Note by Anne Sexton

'You speak to me of narcissism but I reply that it is a matter of my life' - Artaud'At this time let me somehow bequeath all the leftovers to my daughters and their daughters' - ...

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Noon Walk On The Asylum Lawn by Anne Sexton

Noon Walk On The Asylum Lawn by Anne Sexton

The summer sun rayshifts through a suspicious tree.though I walk through the valley of the shadowIt sucks the airand looks around for me.The grass speaks.I hear green chanting all ...

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Housewife by Anne Sexton

Housewife by Anne Sexton

Some women marry houses.It's another kind of skin; it has a heart, a mouth, a liver and bowel movements.The walls are permanent and pink.See how she sits on her knees all day, ...

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Angels Of The Love Affair by Anne Sexton

Angels Of The Love Affair by Anne Sexton

'Angels of the love affair, do you know that other, the dark one, that other me? '1. ANGEL OF FIRE AND GENITALSAngel of fire and genitals, do you know slime, that green mama who ...

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The Big Boots Of Pain by Anne Sexton

The Big Boots Of Pain by Anne Sexton

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 ...

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Admonitions To A Special Person by Anne Sexton

Admonitions To A Special Person by Anne Sexton

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 outto eat off ...

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I Remember by Anne Sexton

I Remember by Anne Sexton

By the first of August the invisible beetles began to snore and the grass was as tough as hemp and was no color—no more than the sand was a color and we had worn our bare feet ...

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The Truth The Dead Know by Anne Sexton

The Truth The Dead Know by Anne Sexton

Gone, I say and walk from church, refusing the stiff procession to the grave, letting the dead ride alone in the hearse.It is June. I am tired of being brave.We drive to the ...

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As It Was Written by Anne Sexton

As It Was Written by Anne Sexton

Earth, earth, riding your merry-go-roundtoward extinction, right to the roots, thickening the oceans like gravy, festering in your caves, you are becoming a latrine.Your trees are ...

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August 8th by Anne Sexton

August 8th by Anne Sexton

Listen here. I've never played it safein spite of what the critics say.Ask my imaginary brother, that waif, that childhood best friend who comes to playdress-up and stick-up and ...

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Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs by Anne Sexton

Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs by Anne Sexton

No matter what life you leadthe virgin is a lovely number: cheeks as fragile as cigarette paper, arms and legs made of Limoges, lips like Vin Du Rhone, rolling her china-blue doll ...

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Bat by Anne Sexton

Bat by Anne Sexton

His awful skin stretched out by some tradesman is like my skin, here between my fingers, a kind of webbing, a kind of frog. Surely when first born my face was this tiny and before ...

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Clothes by Anne Sexton

Clothes by Anne Sexton

Put on a clean shirtbefore 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 ...

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Elegy In The Classroom by Anne Sexton

Elegy In The Classroom by Anne Sexton

In the thin classroom, where your facewas noble and your words were all things,I find this boily creature in your place;find you disarranged, squatting on the window ...

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Despair by Anne Sexton

Despair by Anne Sexton

Who is he? A railroad track toward hell? Breaking like a stick of furniture? The hope that suddenly overflows the cesspool? The love that goes down the drain like spit? The love ...

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August 17th by Anne Sexton

August 17th by Anne Sexton

Surely I will be disquietedby the hospital, that body zone-bodies wrapped in elastic bands, bodies cased in wood or used like telephones, bodies crucified up onto their crutches, ...

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Demon by Anne Sexton

Demon by Anne Sexton

A young man is afraid of his demon and puts his handover the demon's mouth sometimes...- D. H. LawrenceI mentioned my demon to a friendand the friend swam in oil and came forth to ...

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Consorting With Angels by Anne Sexton

Consorting With Angels by Anne Sexton

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, ...

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For My Lover, Returning To His Wife by Anne Sexton

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 ...

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The Witch’s Life by Anne Sexton

The Witch’s Life by Anne Sexton

When I was a childthere was an old woman in our neighborhood whom we called The Witch.All day she peered from her second storywindowfrom behind the wrinkled curtainsand sometimes ...

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Cockroach by Anne Sexton

Cockroach by Anne Sexton

Roach, foulest of creatures, who attacks with yellow teethand an army of cousins big as shoes, you are lumps of coal that are mechanizedand when I turn on the light you ...

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Mother And Daughter by Anne Sexton

Mother And Daughter by Anne Sexton

Linda, you are leaving your old body now, It lies flat, an old butterfly, all arm, all leg, all wing, loose as an old dress. I reach out toward it but my fingers turn to cankers ...

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Going Gone by Anne Sexton

Going Gone by Anne Sexton

Over stone walls and barns,miles from the black-eyed Susans,over circus tents and moon rocketsyou are going, going.You who have inhabited mein the deepest and most broken ...

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Doctors by Anne Sexton

Doctors by Anne Sexton

They work with herbsand penicillinThey work with gentlenessand the scalpel.They dig out the cancer,close an incisionand say a prayerto the poverty of the skin.They are not ...

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The Dead Heart by Anne Sexton

The Dead Heart by Anne Sexton

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 ...

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Words by Anne Sexton

Words by Anne Sexton

Be careful of words, even the miraculous ones. For the miraculous we do our best, sometimes they swarm like insects and leave not a sting but a kiss. They can be as good as ...

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In Celebration Of My Uterus by Anne Sexton

In Celebration Of My Uterus by Anne Sexton

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 ...

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Wanting To Die by Anne Sexton

Wanting To Die by Anne Sexton

Since you ask, most days I cannot remember.I walk in my clothing, unmarked by that voyage.Then the almost unnameable lust returns.Even then I have nothing against life. I know ...

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The Consecrating Mother by Anne Sexton

The Consecrating Mother by Anne Sexton

I stand before the seaand it rolls and rolls in its green bloodsaying, 'Do not give up one godfor I have a handful.'The trade winds blewin their twelve-fingered reversaland I ...

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