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Author: poem of Anne Sexton Type: poem Views: 10

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Live or die, but don't poison everything...



Well, death's been here

for a long time --

it has a hell of a lot

to do with hell

and suspicion of the eye

and the religious objects

and how I mourned them

when they were made obscene

by my dwarf-heart's doodle.

The chief ingredient

is mutilation.

And mud, day after day,

mud like a ritual,

and the baby on the platter,

cooked but still human,

cooked also with little maggots,

sewn onto it maybe by somebody's mother,

the damn bitch!



Even so,

I kept right on going on,

a sort of human statement,

lugging myself as if

I were a sawed-off body

in the trunk, the steamer trunk.

This became perjury of the soul.

It became an outright lie

and even though I dressed the body

it was still naked, still killed.

It was caught

in the first place at birth,

like a fish.

But I play it, dressed it up,

dressed it up like somebody's doll.



Is life something you play?

And all the time wanting to get rid of it?

And further, everyone yelling at you

to shut up. And no wonder!

People don't like to be told

that you're sick

and then be forced

to watch

you

come

down with the hammer.



Today life opened inside me like an egg

and there inside

after considerable digging

I found the answer.

What a bargain!

There was the sun,

her yolk moving feverishly,

tumbling her prize --

and you realize she does this daily!

I'd known she was a purifier

but I hadn't thought

she was solid,

hadn't known she was an answer.

God! It's a dream,

lovers sprouting in the yard

like celery stalks

and better,

a husband straight as a redwood,

two daughters, two sea urchings,

picking roses off my hackles.

If I'm on fire they dance around it

and cook marshmallows.

And if I'm ice

they simply skate on me

in little ballet costumes.



Here,

all along,

thinking I was a killer,

anointing myself daily

with my little poisons.

But no.

I'm an empress.

I wear an apron.

My typewriter writes.

It didn't break the way it warned.

Even crazy, I'm as nice

as a chocolate bar.

Even with the witches' gymnastics

they trust my incalculable city,

my corruptible bed.



O dearest three,

I make a soft reply.

The witch comes on

and you paint her pink.

I come with kisses in my hood

and the sun, the smart one,

rolling in my arms.

So I say Live

and turn my shadow three times round

to feed our puppies as they come,

the eight Dalmatians we didn't drown,

despite the warnings: The abort! The destroy!

Despite the pails of water that waited,

to drown them, to pull them down like stones,

they came, each one headfirst, blowing bubbles the color of cataract-blue

and fumbling for the tiny tits.

Just last week, eight Dalmatians,

3/4 of a lb., lined up like cord wood

each

like a

birch tree.

I promise to love more if they come,

because in spite of cruelty

and the stuffed railroad cars for the ovens,

I am not what I expected. Not an Eichmann.

The poison just didn't take.

So I won't hang around in my hospital shift,

repeating The Black Mass and all of it.

I say Live, Live because of the sun,

the dream, the excitable gift.






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