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43559Re: Minute narratives

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  • wot53_2000
    Feb 2, 2008
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      Louise, what was the context of Anne Sexton's poem?

      Do you see the poem as a faith statement? Like ultimate rescue?
      Or is it just a poem of struggle for life and meaning.
      I'll research her more.



      One of the volumes I've come away with
      > and am currently reading is Lewis Wolpert's "Malignant Sadness: The
      > Anatomy of Depression". In a chapter dealing with suicide he
      > this poem by Anne Sexton, which I think well worth reproducing
      > without further comment:
      > The Sickness Unto Death
      > God went out of me
      > as if the sea dried up like sandpaper,
      > as if the sun became a latrine.
      > God went out of my fingers.
      > They became stone.
      > My body became a side of mutton
      > and despair roamed the slaughterhouse.
      > Someone brought me oranges in my despair
      > but I could not eat one
      > for God was in that orange.
      > I could not touch what did not belong to me.
      > The priest came,
      > he said God was even in Hitler.
      > I did not believe him
      > for if God were in Hitler
      > then God would be in me.
      > I did not hear the bird sounds.
      > They had left.
      > I did not see the speechless clouds,
      > I saw only the little white dish of my faith
      > breaking in the crater.
      > I kept saying:
      > I've got to have something to hold on to.
      > People gave me Bibles, crucifixes,
      > a yellow daisy,
      > but I could not touch them,
      > I who was a house of bowel movement,
      > I who was a defaced altar,
      > I who wanted to crawl toward God
      > could not move nor eat bread.
      > So I ate myself,
      > bite by bite,
      > and the tears washed me,
      > wave after cowardly wave,
      > swallowing canker after canker
      > and Jesus stood over me looking down
      > and He laughed to find me gone,
      > and put his mouth to mine
      > and gave me His air.
      > My kindred, my brother, I said
      > and gave the yellow daisy
      > to the crazy woman in the next bed.
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