Poetry Forum Areas

Introduce Yourself

New to PoetrySoup? Introduce yourself here. Tell us something about yourself.

Looking for a Poem

Can't find a poem you've read before? Looking for a poem for a special person or an occasion? Ask other member for help.

Writing Poetry

Ways to improve your poetry. Post your techniques, tips, and creative ideas how to write better.

High Critique

For poets who want unrestricted constructive criticism. This is NOT a vanity workshop. If you do not want your poem seriously critiqued, do not post here. Constructive criticism only. PLEASE Only Post One Poem a Day!!!

How do I...?

Ask PoetrySoup Members how to do something or find something on PoetrySoup.


You have an ad blocker! We understand, but...

PoetrySoup is a small privately owned website. Our means of support comes from advertising revenue. We want to keep PoetrySoup alive, make it better, and keep it free. Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on PoetrySoup. See how to enable ads while keeping your ad blocker active. Also, did you know you can become a PoetrySoup Lifetime Premium Member and block ads forever...while getting many more great features. Take a look! Thank you!

Crossing The Atlantic

by
 We sail out of season into on oyster-gray wind,
over a terrible hardness.
Where Dickens crossed with mal de mer in twenty weeks or twenty days I cross toward him in five.
Wraped in robes-- not like Caesar but like liver with bacon-- I rest on the stern burning my mouth with a wind-hot ash, watching my ship bypass the swells as easily as an old woman reads a palm.
I think; as I look North, that a field of mules lay down to die.
The ship is 27 hours out.
I have entered her.
She might be a whale, sleeping 2000 and ship's company, the last 40¢ martini and steel staterooms where night goes on forever.
Being inside them is, I think, the way one would dig into a planet and forget the word light.
I have walked cities, miles of mole alleys with carpets.
Inside I have been ten girls who speak French.
They languish everywhere like bedsheets.
Oh my Atlantic of the cracked shores, those blemished gates of Rockport and Boothbay, those harbor smells like the innards of animals! Old childish Queen, where did you go, you bayer at wharfs and Victorian houses? I have read each page of my mother's voyage.
I have read each page of her mother's voyage.
I have learned their words as they learned Dickens'.
I have swallowed these words like bullets.
But I have forgotten the last guest--terror.
Unlike them, I cannot toss in the cabin as in childbirth.
Now always leaving me in the West is the wake, a ragged bridal veil, unexplained, seductive, always rushing down the stairs, never detained, never enough.
The ship goes on as though nothing else were happening.
Generation after generation, I go her way.
She will run East, knot by knot, over an old bloodstream, stripping it clear, each hour ripping it, pounding, pounding, forcing through as through a virgin.
Oh she is so quick! This dead street never stops!

Poem by
Biography | Poems | Best Poems | Short Poems | Quotes | Email Poem - Crossing The AtlanticEmail Poem | Create an image from this poem

Poems are below...


Top Anne Sexton Poems

Analysis and Comments on Crossing The Atlantic

Provide your analysis, explanation, meaning, interpretation, and comments on the poem Crossing The Atlantic here.