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Anne Sexton - The Big Boots Of Pain

There can be certain potions 
needled in the clock 
for the body's fall from grace, 
to untorture and to plead for. 
These I have known 
and would sell all my furniture 
and books and assorted goods 
to avoid, and more, more. 

But the other pain
I would sell my life to avoid 
the pain that begins in the crib 
with its bars or perhaps 
with your first breath 
when the planets drill 
your future into you 
for better of worse 
as you marry life 
and the love that gets doled out 
or doesn't. 

I find now, swallowing one teaspoon 
of pain, that it drops downward 
to the past where it mixes 
with last year's cupful 
and downward into a decade's quart 
and downward into a lifetime's ocean. 
I alternate treading water 
and deadman's float. 

The teaspoon ought to be hearable 
if it didn't mix into the reruns 
and thus enlarge into what it is not, 
a sea pest's sting turning promptly 
into the shark's neat biting off 
of a leg because the soul 
wears a magnifying glass. 
Kicking the heart 
with pain's big boots running up and down 
the intestines like a motorcycle racer. 

Yet one does get out of bed 
and start over, plunge into the day 
and put on a hopeful look 
and does not allow fear to build a wall 
between you and an old friend 
or a new friend and reach out your hand, 
shutting down the thought that 
an axe may cut it off unexpectedly. 
One learns not to blab about all this 
except to yourself or the typewriter keys 
who tell no one until they get brave 
and crawl off onto the printed page. 

I'm getting bored with it, 
I tell the typewriter, 
this constantly walking around 
in wet shoes and then, surprise! 
Somehow DECEASED keeps getting 
stamped in red over the word HOPE. 
And I who keep falling thankfully 
into each new pillow of belief, 
finding my Mercy Street, 
kissing it and tenderly gift-wrapping my love, 
am beginning to wonder just what 
the planets had in mind on November 9th, 1928. 
The pillows are ripped away, 
the hand guillotined, 
dog shit thrown into the middle of a laugh, 
a hornets' nest building into the hi-fi speaker 
and leaving me in silence, 
where, without music, 
I become a cracked orphan. 

Well, 
one gets out of bed 
and the planets don't always hiss 
or muck up the day, each day. 
As for the pain and its multiplying teaspoon, 
perhaps it is a medicine 
that will cure the soul 
of its greed for love 
next Thursday.

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Added: Feb 20 2003 | Viewed: 378 times | Comments and analysis of The Big Boots Of Pain by Anne Sexton Comments (10)

The Big Boots Of Pain - Comments and Information

Poet: Anne Sexton
Poem: The Big Boots Of Pain
Poem of the Day: Apr 11 2011

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