Poem of the Week, by Anne Sexton

IMG_0695When he was little, my son sometimes asked me questions that seized my heart, questions like Mama, what if we’re all characters in a book, and someone is writing us right now? Where these questions came from, I don’t know. Then and now he was what I think of as an old soul. Once, when he was a teenager and we sat in a waiting room, I assumed he was bored and offered him a book to read. No, he said, I’m just going to sit here and think. 

These days, in the midst of theories that maybe we’re all characters in a video game being played by beings in a galaxy far, far away, I think about my son’s long-ago question. Then and now I have no answers. Curiosity, fear, longing and wonderment, all tumbling around inside me like an animal clutched fast to my heart. 

 

The Poet of Ignorance, by Anne Sexton

Perhaps the earth is floating,
I do not know.
Perhaps the stars are little paper cutups
made by some giant scissors,
I do not know.
Perhaps the moon is a frozen tear,
I do not know.
Perhaps God is only a deep voice
heard by the deaf,
I do not know.

Perhaps I am no one.
True, I have a body
and I cannot escape from it.
I would like to fly out of my head,
but that is out of the question.
It is written on the tablet of destiny
that I am stuck here in this human form.
That being the case
I would like to call attention to my problem.

There is an animal inside me,
clutching fast to my heart,
a huge crab.
The doctors of Boston
have thrown up their hands.
They have tried scalpels,
needles, poison gasses and the like.
The crab remains.
It is a great weight.
I try to forget it, go about my business,
cook the broccoli, open the shut books,
brush my teeth and tie my shoes.
I have tried prayer
but as I pray the crab grips harder
and the pain enlarges.

I had a dream once, 
perhaps it was a dream,
that the crab was my ignorance of God.
But who am I to believe in dreams? 

 

Click here for more information about the beautiful poet Anne Sexton.  

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@alisonmcghee

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