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Monday, June 01, 2009

It Is June

And so I think of my favorite poem, "The Truth the Dead Know," by Anne Sexton.

If you're not familiar with Anne Sexton, she was a confessional poet who wrote in the 50s and 60s after her psychologist suggested she try writing down her feelings; because of this, her poetry often detailed her depression. She committed suicide in 1974 at the age of 45.

I love a lot of Ms. Sexton's work, but my favorite is "The Truth the Dead Know," and since it is June, I decided to blog about it.

             The Truth the Dead Know

Gone, I say and walk from church
refusing the stiff procession to the grave,
letting the dead ride alone in the hearse.
It is June. I am tired of being brave.

We drive to the Cape. I cultivate
myself where the sun gutters from the sky,
where the sea swings in like an iron gate
and we touch. In another country people die.

My darling, the wind falls in like stones
from the whitehearted water and when we touch
we enter touch entirely. No one's alone.
Men kill for this, or for as much.

And what of the dead? They lie without shoes
in their stone boats. They are more like stone
than the sea would be if it stopped. They refuse
to be blessed, throat, eye, and knucklebone.

7 comments:

that's J-O-S-H said...

The fact that you and I both love Anne Sexton, this poem and that line in particular, without ever discussing it prior, is further proof that you and I are pretty much the same person.

Jake said...

I've always been such a fan of her work. I find it so brilliant.

Milo said...

I'm not familiar with her work so thanks for the introduction. Is powerful stuff. I like the war poets, especially Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen. Not sure if you do too?

Tam said...

I'm not really into poetry, I don't get it usually. I can tell she's depressed but symbolims and me aren't great friends. However, the new poet laureate in the UK is a women (first ever) and someone posted this poem which she wrote that I DO get and think is brilliant.

Mrs Icarus
I'm not the first or the last
to stand on a hillock,
watching the man she married
prove to the world
he's a total, utter, absolute, Grade A pillock.
Carol Ann Duffy

Michelle M. said...

Maybe she should have read some Dorothy Parker.

Résumé

Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren't lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.

OceanDreams said...

Wow, I really like her poetry. Good selection. I think being an English major would have been fun. I was a Communications major. Oh, your music selection is awesome too. My roommate loves The Weepies and I am a huge fan of Kelly Clarkson and Taylor Swift. I know, I am a total girl. Glad I came across your blog!

hoteltuesday said...

Milo: I actually haven't heard of those poets. I'm more into novels myself, but I took a class that made us read poetry and really loved confessional poets. Sylvia Plath is another one of my favorites (of course).

Tam: Not as brilliant as Ms. Sexton, but pretty good. lol. I like the Icarus allusion in the title!

Michelle M: Lol. Yes, I think that was just the thing she needed. And you know, she went the gas route. Maybe she didn't have a strong sense of smell?

OceanDreams: You should def. be an English major if you ever go back to school! Then do a research project on Anne Sexton and share it with me. And thanks; I try to listen to a lot of different music so my music taste can seemed scattered. I'm glad someone looks at the sidebar! lol.