Monday, 8 October 2012

Day 108: Admonitons to a Special Person

'Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.' - Anne Sexton
I must admit Anne Sexton is a poet I'm just discovering. And I am most in awe of her use of imagery and figurative language. 

Just look at the amazing descriptions in this poem, each stanza vivid with meaning - from snow to lepers, to toilets, to mummies, to waves, to trees and leaves and a final balloon. Each with  its own valuable advice. 

Admonitions to a Special Person - Anne Sexton

Watch out for power,
for its avalanche can bury you,
snow, snow, snow, smothering your mountain.

Watch out for hate,
it can open its mouth and you'll fling yourself out
to eat off your leg, an instant leper.

Watch out for friends,
because when you betray them,
as you will,
they will bury their heads in the toilet
and flush themselves away.

Watch out for intellect,
because it knows so much it knows nothing
and leaves you hanging upside down,
mouthing knowledge as your heart
falls out of your mouth.

Watch out for games, the actor's part,
the speech planned, known, given,
for they will give you away
and you will stand like a naked little boy,
pissing on your own child-bed.

Watch out for love
(unless it is true,
and every part of you says yes including the toes) ,
it will wrap you up like a mummy,
and your scream won't be heard
and none of your running will end.

Love? Be it man. Be it woman.
It must be a wave you want to glide in on,
give your body to it, give your laugh to it,
give, when the gravelly sand takes you,
your tears to the land. To love another is something
like prayer and can't be planned, you just fall
into its arms because your belief undoes your disbelief.

Special person,
if I were you I'd pay no attention
to admonitions from me,
made somewhat out of your words
and somewhat out of mine.
A collaboration.
I do not believe a word I have said,
except some, except I think of you like a young tree
with pasted-on leaves and know you'll root
and the real green thing will come.

Let go. Let go.
Oh special person,
possible leaves,
this typewriter likes you on the way to them,
but wants to break crystal glasses
in celebration,
for you,
when the dark crust is thrown off
and you float all around
like a happened balloon.


  1. Like this a lot - great original language & imagery- unique and different more of this poet please! :) B

    1. Good, glad you like it! Great language yes! I shall indeed so :)

  2. Ahhh, I LOVE Anne Sexton. If you like her poems, you should read 'A Self Portrait in Letters' - it collects together letters she wrote to other writers, friends, her get a lot of information about her life as well as her writing and thought process.

    PS:I ordered Ruth Padel's 'Soho Leopard' yesterday after you posted that lovely fox poem. Thanks for pointing the way :)

    1. Oh that sounds good - I must keep an eye out for that. Thanks! I'm just discovering her now and love what I've read so far!

      Oh great - you should like that. Watch out for the sequence of moon poems she has in it. What I also loved of hers was her book 'Tigers in Red Weather' - a kind of travelogue she wrote about going off to Asia in search of tigers, complete with history, mythology and poetry. A brilliant read! (The poem about tigers is here in September somewhere...) She's a magnificent poet!

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