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Anne Sexton - The Ambition Bird

So it has come to this
insomnia at 3:15 A.M., 
the clock tolling its engine 

like a frog following 
a sundial yet having an electric 
seizure at the quarter hour. 

The business of words keeps me awake. 
I am drinking cocoa, 
that warm brown mama. 

I would like a simple life 
yet all night I am laying 
poems away in a long box. 

It is my immortality box, 
my lay-away plan, 
my coffin. 

All night dark wings 
flopping in my heart. 
Each an ambition bird. 

The bird wants to be dropped 
from a high place like Tallahatchie Bridge. 

He wants to light a kitchen match 
and immolate himself. 

He wants to fly into the hand of Michelangelo 
anc dome out painted on a ceiling. 

He wants to pierce the hornet's nest 
and come out with a long godhead. 

He wants to take bread and wine 
and bring forth a man happily floating in the Caribbean. 

He wants to be pressed out like a key 
so he can unlock the Magi. 

He wants to take leave among strangers 
passing out bits of his heart like hors d'oeuvres. 

He wants to die changing his clothes 
and bolt for the sun like a diamond. 

He wants, I want. 
Dear God, wouldn't it be 
good enough to just drink cocoa? 

I must get a new bird 
and a new immortality box. 
There is folly enough inside this one.

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Added: Feb 20 2003 | Viewed: 5152 times | Comments and analysis of The Ambition Bird by Anne Sexton Comments (1)

The Ambition Bird - Comments and Information

Poet: Anne Sexton
Poem: The Ambition Bird
Poem of the Day: Aug 23 2004

Comment 1 of 1, added on March 28th, 2006 at 2:03 AM.

I read this poem at 3:07 am. Trouble sleeping. My thoughts are feverish with plans. I guess I can identify with the poem.

Kevin from United States

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