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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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