Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Just Once

Just once I knew what life was for.
In Boston, quite suddenly, I understood;
walked there along the Charles River,
watched the lights copying themselves,
all neoned and strobe-hearted, opening
their mouths as wide as opera singers;
counted the stars, my little campaigners,
my scar daisies, and knew that I walked my love
on the night green side of it and cried
my heart to the eastbound cars and cried
my heart to the westbound cars and took
my truth across a small humped bridge
and hurried my truth, the charm of it, home
and hoarded these constants into morning
only to find them gone.

-Anne Sexton.

I spent the whole night tracking down and listening to the live recordings of Anne Sexton reading aloud her own poems. How do I describe how this feels? It is as if you have summoned a spirit, to rise from her grave, to speak, not to you or to anybody else, but merely just to speak. You know that she won't stay forever, so the short amount of time in which you are in her presence feels so very precious. Because Sexton is a beautiful poet, and beautiful poets are made all the more beautiful by death. Because the sound of a voice alone, holds so much more than words do. She reads faster and is less emotional than I imagined, as if she is talking in some ordinary conversation and the words are truthful and unafraid of what they mean; as if any rhythm or pattern which holds them together is purely accidental. Click
here to hear Sexton read 'Her Kind', one of her signature poems. Lovely, lovely, lovely. Because we need to know we are not alone. Anyone who echoes our sorrow or what we believe in gives us a sort of comforting rapture and gains secret approval from us. Because we need to know that we are okay, or will be okay, that this life we are leading, this pain that we have, is something that has been experienced before, and can be managed, in some way or another.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lovely. Shall take greater note of Anne Sexton from now on.