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Comment 5 of 12, added on February 12th, 2012 at 12:35 AM.
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Comment 4 of 12, added on November 23rd, 2005 at 6:00 PM.
The first time I ever read this poem I was a freshman in high school.
Reading it at 14 years old, "Admonitions to a Special Person" spoke to my
anxiety about making my way through an adult world and my hope that I was
(as the writer calls each of us) "a special person". I hoped to triumph in
the end and in spite of being annhilated by life’s cruelty, as Sexton
describes, "float all around like a happened balloon."
The first stanzas are warnings about what to watch out for in life,
what to expect, as though the poet believes she can protect her reader from
experiencing the same crushing lessons that she has had to learn.
But by the end of the poem Sexton admits she can't protect her reader by
her own experience: "If I were you I would not listen to admonitions from
me". In this statment she implies that only one's own life can be one's
The poem would be as terrifying to me today as it was 23 years ago,
were it not for the ending, which holds the promise of redemption. With two
simple words of advice, "Let go. Let go.” Sexton encourages her reader to
surrender and perhaps even to have faith. At fourteen I would not have
thought Sexton meant "faith" but today I wonder.
One of the most striking and meaningful stanzas to me is the one about
falling in love. The image of love as either a deadly mistake ("unless it
is true") or something holy akin to a “prayer”. Somehow, even at 14, I
recognized the truth of the power of one’s choice in who to love and one’s
responsability to listen to oneself and how one responds to its beckoning.
The poem still speaks deeply to my anxieties and my hopes about love and
life and offers no advice, except perhaps to listen to oneself. Can one
know oneself and surrender to one’s own inner wisdom? Is that ability to
do so why the writer would claim us to be, each of us, "a special person"?
amy from United States
Comment 3 of 12, added on January 6th, 2005 at 8:01 PM.
This poem caught my eye, but I need help understanding it. Im working on a
project on Anne Sexton for school. Can anyone help me with the main points
of the first two and the last two stanzas? I'm having trouble with those.
Thanks. Btw, KJ's comment were touching.
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