Poets | Bookstore | Poem of the Day | Top 40 | Search | Comments | Privacy
April 20th, 2014 - we have 234 poets, 8,025 poems and 103,948 comments.
Anne Sexton - For The Year Of The Insane

a prayer

O Mary, fragile mother, 
hear me, hear me now 
although I do not know your words. 
The black rosary with its silver Christ 
lies unblessed in my hand 
for I am the unbeliever. 
Each bead is round and hard between my fingers, 
a small black angel. 
O Mary, permit me this grace, 
this crossing over, 
although I am ugly, 
submerged in my own past 
and my own madness. 
Although there are chairs 
I lie on the floor. 
Only my hands are alive, 
touching beads. 
Word for word, I stumble. 
A beginner, I feel your mouth touch mine. 

I count beads as waves, 
hammering in upon me. 
I am ill at their numbers, 
sick, sick in the summer heat 
and the window above me 
is my only listener, my awkward being. 
She is a large taker, a soother. 
The giver of breath 
she murmurs, 
exhaling her wide lung like an enormous fish. 

Closer and closer 
comes the hour of my death 
as I rearrange my face, grow back, 
grow undeveloped and straight-haired. 
All this is death. 
In the mind there is a thin alley called death 
and I move through it as 
through water. 
My body is useless. 
It lies, curled like a dog on the carpet. 
It has given up. 
There are no words here except the half-learned, 
the Hail Mary and the full of grace. 
Now I have entered the year without words. 
I note the queer entrance and the exact voltage. 
Without words they exist. 
Without words on my touch bread 
and be handed bread 
and make no sound. 

O Mary, tender physician, 
come with powders and herbs 
for I am in the center. 
It is very small and the air is gray 
as in a steam house. 
I am handed wine as a child is handed milk. 
It is presented in a delicate glass 
with a round bowl and a thin lip. 
The wine itself is pitch-colored, musty and secret. 
The glass rises in its own toward my mouth 
and I notice this and understand this 
only because it has happened. 

I have this fear of coughing 
but I do not speak, 
a fear of rain, a fear of the horseman 
who comes riding into my mouth. 
The glass tilts in on its own 
and I amon fire. 
I see two thin streaks burn down my chin. 
I see myself as one would see another. 
I have been cut int two. 

O Mary, open your eyelids. 
I am in the domain of silence, 
the kingdom of the crazy and the sleeper. 
There is blood here. 
and I haven't eaten it. 
O mother of the womb, 
did I come for blood alone? 
O little mother, 
I am in my own mind. 
I am locked in the wrong house.

Share |

Added: Feb 20 2003 | Viewed: 9944 times | Comments and analysis of For The Year Of The Insane by Anne Sexton Comments (2)

For The Year Of The Insane - Comments and Information

Poet: Anne Sexton
Poem: For The Year Of The Insane
Poem of the Day: Jun 12 2012

Comment 2 of 2, added on January 18th, 2013 at 6:12 AM.
TSTwhqoGBqhD

That isginht would have saved us a lot of effort early on.

Azia from Saint Vincent and the Grenadin
Comment 1 of 2, added on September 19th, 2005 at 1:30 PM.

i thought your poem was interesting and i liked the poetic devices used, however i am not sure i grasped the full context or idea. Could you please fill me in?

Jred from United States

Are you looking for more information on this poem? Perhaps you are trying to analyze it? The poem, For The Year Of The Insane, has received 2 comments. Click here to read them, and perhaps post a comment of your own.

Poem Info

Sexton Info
Copyright © 2000-2012 Gunnar Bengtsson. All Rights Reserved. Links | Bookstore