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Best Famous Anne Sexton Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Anne Sexton poems. This is a select list of the best famous Anne Sexton poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Anne Sexton poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of anne sexton poems.

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Written by Anne Sexton |


 A young man is afraid of his demon and puts his hand
over the demon's mouth sometimes.
-- D.
Lawrence I mentioned my demon to a friend and the friend swam in oil and came forth to me greasy and cryptic and said, "I'm thinking of taking him out of hock.
I pawned him years ago.
" Who would buy? The pawned demon, Yellowing with forgetfulness and hand at his throat? Take him out of hock, my friend, but beware of the grief that will fly into your mouth like a bird.
My demon, too often undressed, too often a crucifix I bring forth, too often a dead daisy I give water to too often the child I give birth to and then abort, nameless, nameless.
Oh demon within, I am afraid and seldom put my hand up to my mouth and stitch it up covering you, smothering you from the public voyeury eyes of my typewriter keys.
If I should pawn you, what bullion would they give for you, what pennies, swimming in their copper kisses what bird on its way to perishing? No.
I accept you, you come with the dead who people my dreams, who walk all over my desk (as in Mother, cancer blossoming on her Best & Co.
tits-- waltzing with her tissue paper ghost) the dead, who give sweets to the diabetic in me, who give bolts to the seizure of roses that sometimes fly in and out of me.
I accept you, demon.
I will not cover your mouth.
If it be man I love, apple laden and foul or if it be woman I love, sick unto her blood and its sugary gasses and tumbling branches.
Demon come forth, even if it be God I call forth standing like a carrion, wanting to eat me, starting at the lips and tongue.
And me wanting to glide into His spoils, I take bread and wine, and the demon farts and giggles, at my letting God out of my mouth anonymous woman at the anonymous altar.

Written by Anne Sexton |

Daddy Warbucks

 In Memoriam

What's missing is the eyeballs
in each of us, but it doesn't matter
because you've got the bucks, the bucks, the bucks.
You let me touch them, fondle the green faces lick at their numbers and it lets you be my "Daddy!" "Daddy!" and though I fought all alone with molesters and crooks, I knew your money would save me, your courage, your "I've had considerable experience as a soldier.
fighting to win millions for myself, it's true.
But I did win," and me praying for "our men out there" just made it okay to be an orphan whose blood was no one's, whose curls were hung up on a wire machine and electrified, while you built and unbuilt intrigues called nations, and did in the bad ones, always, always, and always came at my perils, the black Christs of childhood, always came when my heart stood naked in the street and they threw apples at it or twelve-day-old-dead-fish.
"Daddy!" "Daddy," we all won that war, when you sang me the money songs Annie, Annie you sang and I knew you drove a pure gold car and put diamonds in you coke for the crunchy sound, the adorable sound and the moon too was in your portfolio, as well as the ocean with its sleepy dead.
And I was always brave, wasn't I? I never bled? I never saw a man expose himself.
I never saw a drunkard in his blubber.
I never let lightning go in one car and out the other.
And all the men out there were never to come.
Never, like a deluge, to swim over my breasts and lay their lamps in my insides.
Just me and my "Daddy" and his tempestuous bucks rolling in them like corn flakes and only the bad ones died.
But I died yesterday, "Daddy," I died, swallowing the Nazi-Jap animal and it won't get out it keeps knocking at my eyes, my big orphan eyes, kicking! Until eyeballs pop out and even my dog puts up his four feet and lets go of his military secret with his big red tongue flying up and down like yours should have as we board our velvet train.

Written by Anne Sexton |

After Auschwitz

as black as a hook, 
overtakes me.
Each day, each Nazi took, at 8:00 A.
, a baby and sauteed him for breakfast in his frying pan.
And death looks on with a casual eye and picks at the dirt under his fingernail.
Man is evil, I say aloud.
Man is a flower that should be burnt, I say aloud.
Man is a bird full of mud, I say aloud.
And death looks on with a casual eye and scratches his anus.
Man with his small pink toes, with his miraculous fingers is not a temple but an outhouse, I say aloud.
Let man never again raise his teacup.
Let man never again write a book.
Let man never again put on his shoe.
Let man never again raise his eyes, on a soft July night.
I say those things aloud.

More great poems below...

Written by Anne Sexton |

The Earth Falls Down

 If I could blame it all on the weather,
the snow like the cadaver's table,
the trees turned into knitting needles,
the ground as hard as a frozen haddock,
the pond wearing its mustache of frost.
If I could blame conditions on that, if I could blame the hearts of strangers striding muffled down the street, or blame the dogs, every color, sniffing each other and pissing on the doorstep.
If I could blame the bosses and the presidents for their unpardonable songs.
If I could blame it on all the mothers and fathers of the world, they of the lessons, the pellets of power, they of the love surrounding you like batter.
Blame it on God perhaps? He of the first opening that pushed us all into our first mistakes? No, I'll blame it on Man For Man is God and man is eating the earth up like a candy bar and not one of them can be left alone with the ocean for it is known he will gulp it all down.
The stars (possibly) are safe.
At least for the moment.
The stars are pears that no one can reach, even for a wedding.
Perhaps for a death.

Written by Anne Sexton |

45 Mercy Street

 In my dream, 
drilling into the marrow 
of my entire bone, 
my real dream, 
I'm walking up and down Beacon Hill 
searching for a street sign -- 
Not there.
I try the Back Bay.
Not there.
Not there.
And yet I know the number.
45 Mercy Street.
I know the stained-glass window of the foyer, the three flights of the house with its parquet floors.
I know the furniture and mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, the servants.
I know the cupboard of Spode the boat of ice, solid silver, where the butter sits in neat squares like strange giant's teeth on the big mahogany table.
I know it well.
Not there.
Where did you go? 45 Mercy Street, with great-grandmother kneeling in her whale-bone corset and praying gently but fiercely to the wash basin, at five A.
at noon dozing in her wiggy rocker, grandfather taking a nap in the pantry, grandmother pushing the bell for the downstairs maid, and Nana rocking Mother with an oversized flower on her forehead to cover the curl of when she was good and when she was.
And where she was begat and in a generation the third she will beget, me, with the stranger's seed blooming into the flower called Horrid.
I walk in a yellow dress and a white pocketbook stuffed with cigarettes, enough pills, my wallet, my keys, and being twenty-eight, or is it forty-five? I walk.
I walk.
I hold matches at street signs for it is dark, as dark as the leathery dead and I have lost my green Ford, my house in the suburbs, two little kids sucked up like pollen by the bee in me and a husband who has wiped off his eyes in order not to see my inside out and I am walking and looking and this is no dream just my oily life where the people are alibis and the street is unfindable for an entire lifetime.
Pull the shades down -- I don't care! Bolt the door, mercy, erase the number, rip down the street sign, what can it matter, what can it matter to this cheapskate who wants to own the past that went out on a dead ship and left me only with paper? Not there.
I open my pocketbook, as women do, and fish swim back and forth between the dollars and the lipstick.
I pick them out, one by one and throw them at the street signs, and shoot my pocketbook into the Charles River.
Next I pull the dream off and slam into the cement wall of the clumsy calendar I live in, my life, and its hauled up notebooks.

Written by Anne Sexton |

I Remember

 By the first of August
the invisible beetles began
to snore and the grass was
as tough as hemp and was
no color--no more than
the sand was a color and
we had worn our bare feet
bare since the twentieth
of June and there were times
we forgot to wind up your
alarm clock and some nights
we took our gin warm and neat
from old jelly glasses while
the sun blew out of sight
like a red picture hat and
one day I tied my hair back
with a ribbon and you said
that I looked almost like
a puritan lady and what
I remember best is that
the door to your room was
the door to mine.

Written by Anne Sexton |


 Loving me with my shows off
means loving my long brown legs,
sweet dears, as good as spoons;
and my feet, those two children
let out to play naked.
Intricate nubs, my toes.
No longer bound.
And what's more, see toenails and all ten stages, root by root.
All spirited and wild, this little piggy went to market and this little piggy stayed.
Long brown legs and long brown toes.
Further up, my darling, the woman is calling her secrets, little houses, little tongues that tell you.
There is no one else but us in this house on the land spit.
The sea wears a bell in its navel.
And I'm your barefoot wench for a whole week.
Do you care for salami? No.
You'd rather not have a scotch? No.
You don't really drink.
You do drink me.
The gulls kill fish, crying out like three-year-olds.
The surf's a narcotic, calling out, I am, I am, I am all night long.
Barefoot, I drum up and down your back.
In the morning I run from door to door of the cabin playing chase me.
Now you grab me by the ankles.
Now you work your way up the legs and come to pierce me at my hunger mark

Written by Anne Sexton |

For My Lover Returning To His Wife

 She is all there.
She was melted carefully down for you and cast up from your childhood, cast up from your one hundred favorite aggies.
She has always been there, my darling.
She is, in fact, exquisite.
Fireworks in the dull middle of February and as real as a cast-iron pot.
Let's face it, I have been momentary.
vA luxury.
A bright red sloop in the harbor.
My hair rising like smoke from the car window.
Littleneck clams out of season.
She is more than that.
She is your have to have, has grown you your practical your tropical growth.
This is not an experiment.
She is all harmony.
She sees to oars and oarlocks for the dinghy, has placed wild flowers at the window at breakfast, sat by the potter's wheel at midday, set forth three children under the moon, three cherubs drawn by Michelangelo, done this with her legs spread out in the terrible months in the chapel.
If you glance up, the children are there like delicate balloons resting on the ceiling.
She has also carried each one down the hall after supper, their heads privately bent, two legs protesting, person to person, her face flushed with a song and their little sleep.
I give you back your heart.
I give you permission -- for the fuse inside her, throbbing angrily in the dirt, for the bitch in her and the burying of her wound -- for the burying of her small red wound alive -- for the pale flickering flare under her ribs, for the drunken sailor who waits in her left pulse, for the mother's knee, for the stocking, for the garter belt, for the call -- the curious call when you will burrow in arms and breasts and tug at the orange ribbon in her hair and answer the call, the curious call.
She is so naked and singular She is the sum of yourself and your dream.
Climb her like a monument, step after step.
She is solid.
As for me, I am a watercolor.
I wash off.

Written by Anne Sexton |

The Breast

 This is the key to it.
This is the key to everything.
I am worse than the gamekeeper's children picking for dust and bread.
Here I am drumming up perfume.
Let me go down on your carpet, your straw mattress -- whatever's at hand because the child in me is dying, dying.
It is not that I am cattle to be eaten.
It is not that I am some sort of street.
But your hands found me like an architect.
Jugful of milk! It was yours years ago when I lived in the valley of my bones, bones dumb in the swamp.
Little playthings.
A xylophone maybe with skin stretched over it awkwardly.
Only later did it become something real.
Later I measured my size against movie stars.
I didn't measure up.
Something between my shoulders was there.
But never enough.
Sure, there was a meadow, but no yound men singing the truth.
Nothing to tell truth by.
Ignorant of men I lay next to my sisters and rising out of the ashes I cried my sex will be transfixed! Now I am your mother, your daughter, your brand new thing -- a snail, a nest.
I am alive when your fingers are.
I wear silk -- the cover to uncover -- because silk is what I want you to think of.
But I dislike the cloth.
It is too stern.
So tell me anything but track me like a climber for here is the eye, here is the jewel, here is the excitement the nipple learns.
I am unbalanced -- but I am not mad with snow.
I am mad the way young girls are mad, with an offering, an offering.
I burn the way money burns.

Written by Anne Sexton |

The Fury Of Earth

 The day of fire is coming, the thrush, 
will fly ablaze like a little sky rocket, 
the beetle will sink like a giant bulldozer, 
and at the breaking of the morning the houses 
will turn into oil and will in their tides 
of fire be a becoming and an ending, a red fan.
What then, man in your easy chair, of the anointment of the sick, of the New Jerusalem? You will have to polish up the stars with Bab-o and find a new God as the earth empties out into the gnarled hands of the old redeemer.

Written by Anne Sexton |

The Fury Of Sundays

 Moist, moist, 
the heat leaking through the hinges, 
sun baking the roof like a pie 
and I and thou and she 
eating, working, sweating, 
droned up on the heat.
The sun as read as the cop car siren.
The sun as red as the algebra marks.
The sun as red as two electric eyeballs.
She wanting to take a bath in jello.
You and me sipping vodka and soda, ice cubes melting like the Virgin Mary.
You cutting the lawn, fixing the machines, all htis leprous day and then more vodka, more soda and the pond forgiving our bodies, the pond sucking out the throb.
Our bodies were trash.
We leave them on the shore.
I and thou and she swin like minnows, losing all our queens and kinds, losing our hells and our tongues, cool, cool, all day that Sunday in July when we were young and did not look into the abyss, that God spot.

Written by Anne Sexton |

The Evil Eye

 It comes oozing
out of flowers at night,
it comes out of the rain
if a snake looks skyward,
it comes out of chairs and tables
if you don't point at them and say their names.
It comes into your mouth while you sleep, pressing in like a washcloth.
If you meet a cross-eyed person you must plunge into the grass, alongside the chilly ants, fish through the green fingernails and come up with the four-leaf clover or your blood with congeal like cold gravy.
If you run across a horseshoe, passerby, stop, take your hands out of your pockets and count the nails as you count your children or your money.
Otherwise a sand flea will crawl in your ear and fly into your brain and the only way you'll keep from going mad is to be hit with a hammer every hour.
If a hunchback is in the elevator with you don't turn away, immediately touch his hump for his child will be born from his back tomorrow and if he promptly bites the baby's nails off (so it won't become a thief) that child will be holy and you, simple bird that you are, may go on flying.
When you knock on wood, and you do, you knock on the Cross and Jesus gives you a fragment of His body and breaks an egg in your toilet, giving up one life for one life.

Written by Anne Sexton |


 Some ghosts are women,
neither abstract nor pale,
their breasts as limp as killed fish.
Not witches, but ghosts who come, moving their useless arms like forsaken servants.
Not all ghosts are women, I have seen others; fat, white-bellied men, wearing their genitals like old rags.
Not devils, but ghosts.
This one thumps barefoot, lurching above my bed.
But that isn't all.
Some ghosts are children.
Not angels, but ghosts; curling like pink tea cups on any pillow, or kicking, showing their innocent bottoms, wailing for Lucifer.

Written by Anne Sexton |

The Bells

 Today the circus poster
is scabbing off the concrete wall
and the children have forgotten
if they knew at all.
Father, do you remember? Only the sound remains, the distant thump of the good elephants, the voice of the ancient lions and how the bells trembled for the flying man.
I, laughing, lifted to your high shoulder or small at the rough legs of strangers, was not afraid.
You held my hand and were instant to explain the three rings of danger.
Oh see the naughty clown and the wild parade while love love love grew rings around me.
this was the sound where it began; our breath pounding up to see the flying man breast out across the boarded sky and climb the air.
I remember the color of music and how forever all the trembling bells of you were mine.

Written by Anne Sexton |

Buying The Whore

 You are the roast beef I have purchased
and I stuff you with my very own onion.
You are a boat I have rented by the hour and I steer you with my rage until you run aground.
You are a glass that I have paid to shatter and I swallow the pieces down with my spit.
You are the grate I warm my trembling hands on, searing the flesh until it's nice and juicy.
You stink like my Mama under your bra and I vomit into your hand like a jackpot its cold hard quarters.