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With Mercy For The Greedy Analysis

Author: poem of Anne Sexton Type: poem Views: 6

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for my friend Ruth, who urges me to make an

appointment for the Sacrament of Confesson

Concerning your letter in which you ask

me to call a priest and in which you ask

me to wear The Cross that you enclose;

your own cross,

your dog-bitten cross,

no larger than a thumb,

small and wooden, no thorns, this rose --

I pray to its shadow,

that gray place

where it lies on your letter ... deep, deep.

I detest my sins and I try to believe

in The Cross. I touch its tender hips, its dark jawed face,

its solid neck, its brown sleep.

True. There is

a beautiful Jesus.

He is frozen to his bones like a chunk of beef.

How desperately he wanted to pull his arms in!

How desperately I touch his vertical and horizontal axes!

But I can't. Need is not quite belief.

All morning long

I have worn

your cross, hung with package string around my throat.

It tapped me lightly as a child's heart might,

tapping secondhand, softly waiting to be born.

Ruth, I cherish the letter you wrote.

My friend, my friend, I was born

doing reference work in sin, and born

confessing it. This is what poems are:

with mercy

for the greedy,

they are the tongue's wrangle,

the world's pottage, the rat's star.


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