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The Big Boots Of Pain Analysis

Author: poem of Anne Sexton Type: poem Views: 2

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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 assorted goods

to avoid, and more, more.

But the other pain

I would sell my life to avoid

the pain that begins in the crib

with its bars or perhaps

with your first breath

when the planets drill

your future into you

for better of worse

as you marry life

and the love that gets doled out

or doesn't.

I find now, swallowing one teaspoon

of pain, that it drops downward

to the past where it mixes

with last year's cupful

and downward into a decade's quart

and downward into a lifetime's ocean.

I alternate treading water

and deadman's float.

The teaspoon ought to be hearable

if it didn't mix into the reruns

and thus enlarge into what it is not,

a sea pest's sting turning promptly

into the shark's neat biting off

of a leg because the soul

wears a magnifying glass.

Kicking the heart

with pain's big boots running up and down

the intestines like a motorcycle racer.

Yet one does get out of bed

and start over, plunge into the day

and put on a hopeful look

and does not allow fear to build a wall

between you and an old friend

or a new friend and reach out your hand,

shutting down the thought that

an axe may cut it off unexpectedly.

One learns not to blab about all this

except to yourself or the typewriter keys

who tell no one until they get brave

and crawl off onto the printed page.

I'm getting bored with it,

I tell the typewriter,

this constantly walking around

in wet shoes and then, surprise!

Somehow DECEASED keeps getting

stamped in red over the word HOPE.

And I who keep falling thankfully

into each new pillow of belief,

finding my Mercy Street,

kissing it and tenderly gift-wrapping my love,

am beginning to wonder just what

the planets had in mind on November 9th, 1928.

The pillows are ripped away,

the hand guillotined,

dog shit thrown into the middle of a laugh,

a hornets' nest building into the hi-fi speaker

and leaving me in silence,

where, without music,

I become a cracked orphan.


one gets out of bed

and the planets don't always hiss

or muck up the day, each day.

As for the pain and its multiplying teaspoon,

perhaps it is a medicine

that will cure the soul

of its greed for love

next Thursday.


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