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Analysis and comments on The Kiss by Anne Sexton

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Comment 3 of 71, added on August 30th, 2011 at 2:04 PM.

The poem opens up with vivid imagery. Her mouth blooming like a cut is
symbolic of color coming back into her romantic life. Consider a cut
bleeding out, now imaging that crimson red growing on her lips. Red is our
color of sexuality, and blood is metaphorically entwined with sex. The
opening line efficiently illustrates passion filling her life again. It
then serves to contrast this blossoming with her lonely misery prior.

Contrast, people. That is the intent of this poem. It is blatant in every
stanza. Passion to lonely nights. Limp to active. Old Mary to naked desire.
Worn boat to magnificent vessel.

A lot of people seem to want to contextualize this poem in terms of who her
new lover may be. Nonsense. The other party is relevant only in that he has
reignited her passion. The passion itself is what rejuvenates her.

afish from United States
Comment 2 of 71, added on February 3rd, 2006 at 3:10 AM.

My mouth blooms like a cut.
I've been wronged all year, tedious
nights, nothing but rough elbows in them
and delicate boxes of Kleenex calling crybaby
crybaby , you fool!

Before today my body was useless.
Now it's tearing at its square corners.
It's tearing old Mary's garments off, knot by knot
and see -- Now it's shot full of these electric bolts.
Zing! A resurrection!

Once it was a boat, quite wooden
and with no business, no salt water under it
and in need of some paint. It was no more
than a group of boards. But you hoisted her, rigged her.
She's been elected.

My nerves are turned on. I hear them like
musical instruments. Where there was silence
the drums, the strings are incurably playing. You did this.
Pure genius at work. Darling, the composer has stepped
into fire.

Anne Sexton is a modern poet. She presents human psychology in her poems
artistically. She always tries to display the present state of her mind
through some words.

Kissing in her mouth felt like a cut. She felt no emotion. She felt that
she had been wronged all the year. Nights were boring to her. She had been
sexually exploited. She had not been treated like a young woman, but like a
baby. Her body was useless without any youthful vigour and emotions.
However, it is all the matter of past.

At present, her relationship with a man is that of Mary with Light. In the
Bible Mary was touched by the light and as a result, she conceived and gave
birth to Jesus Christ. Similarly the poet's present relationship is
fruitful. She has also conceived a baby. Conception of the baby and the
birth of it is like the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a great deed.
The poet wants to say that her misery has passed away now.

However, it was miserable in the past. She had to face rape, incest,
abortion, drug-addict, insanity and contradiction of maternity. But the
kiss that she has got at present is the symbol of creation, reproduction
and generation. The kiss stands for the same light that made Mary pregnant
and resulted in the birth of Jesus. Thus the poem is also an allusion to
the Bible.

The poet compares herself with a wooden boat with 'no business; no salt
water under it'. She was no more than the non-living wooden boards, which
badly needed painting. Here painting symbolises excitement in life. She got
it all with her new relationship. Her man 'hoisted her, rigged her, she's
been elected; as the man understands her feelings and emotions well.

In the last stanza, she talks about her meaningful life. Now her nerves are
'turned on' i.e. she is excited for living. She has started to hear music
in life. Her nerves are serving as musical instruments. But in past very
boring was the dead silence in life. Now the silence has been broken by the
music of life. It has been all cured although it seemed to have been
incurable in the past. For all this, the poet owes to the man who brought
exciting moment in her life. She thinks that the man has done genius at
work. Finally she says that the music composer of her life has stepped into
fire. The 'fire' can be interpreted as the desire for sex, creation and
reproduction, as fire changes things anew.

The poem is written in the free verse. However, imagery, symbol and
allusion to the Bible make the poem rich and highly philosophical.

Khem Raj Chapagain from Nepal

This poem has been commented on more than 10 times. Click below to see the other comments.
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Information about The Kiss

Poet: Anne Sexton
Poem: The Kiss
Added: Feb 20 2003
Viewed: 4197 times

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