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For The Year Of The Insane Analysis

Author: poem of Anne Sexton Type: poem Views: 5

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a prayer

O Mary, fragile mother,

hear me, hear me now

although I do not know your words.

The black rosary with its silver Christ

lies unblessed in my hand

for I am the unbeliever.

Each bead is round and hard between my fingers,

a small black angel.

O Mary, permit me this grace,

this crossing over,

although I am ugly,

submerged in my own past

and my own madness.

Although there are chairs

I lie on the floor.

Only my hands are alive,

touching beads.

Word for word, I stumble.

A beginner, I feel your mouth touch mine.

I count beads as waves,

hammering in upon me.

I am ill at their numbers,

sick, sick in the summer heat

and the window above me

is my only listener, my awkward being.

She is a large taker, a soother.

The giver of breath

she murmurs,

exhaling her wide lung like an enormous fish.

Closer and closer

comes the hour of my death

as I rearrange my face, grow back,

grow undeveloped and straight-haired.

All this is death.

In the mind there is a thin alley called death

and I move through it as

through water.

My body is useless.

It lies, curled like a dog on the carpet.

It has given up.

There are no words here except the half-learned,

the Hail Mary and the full of grace.

Now I have entered the year without words.

I note the queer entrance and the exact voltage.

Without words they exist.

Without words on my touch bread

and be handed bread

and make no sound.

O Mary, tender physician,

come with powders and herbs

for I am in the center.

It is very small and the air is gray

as in a steam house.

I am handed wine as a child is handed milk.

It is presented in a delicate glass

with a round bowl and a thin lip.

The wine itself is pitch-colored, musty and secret.

The glass rises in its own toward my mouth

and I notice this and understand this

only because it has happened.

I have this fear of coughing

but I do not speak,

a fear of rain, a fear of the horseman

who comes riding into my mouth.

The glass tilts in on its own

and I amon fire.

I see two thin streaks burn down my chin.

I see myself as one would see another.

I have been cut int two.

O Mary, open your eyelids.

I am in the domain of silence,

the kingdom of the crazy and the sleeper.

There is blood here.

and I haven't eaten it.

O mother of the womb,

did I come for blood alone?

O little mother,

I am in my own mind.

I am locked in the wrong house.


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