Anger,
as black as a hook,
overtakes me.
Each day,
each Nazi
took, at 8:00 A.M., a baby
and sauteed him for breakfast
in his frying pan.

And death looks on with a casual eye
and picks at the dirt under his fingernail.

Man is evil,
I say aloud.
Man is a flower
that should be burnt,
I say aloud.
Man
is a bird full of mud,
I say aloud.

And death looks on with a casual eye
and scratches his anus.

Man with his small pink toes,
with his miraculous fingers
is not a temple
but an outhouse,
I say aloud.
Let man never again raise his teacup.
Let man never again write a book.
Let man never again put on his shoe.
Let man never again raise his eyes,
on a soft July night.
Never. Never. Never. Never. Never.
I say those things aloud.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Anne Sexton's poem After Auschwitz

8 Comments

  1. Lauren Long says:

    I love this poem I am so great also

  2. Erin Marie says:

    many versions of this poem include the last line which displays an obvious volta in the text and changes the meaning of the poem:

    I beg the Lord not to hear.

  3. Erin Marie says:

    the holocaust is a vehicle for this poem. it is about anger and how, while it is a necessary emotion for survival in the most loathsome and horrific of situations, it must not be the sole ruler of one’s life.

  4. sober says:

    I think that these poem is about the staining of the human race done by Germans.

  5. Joshua Smith says:

    I find it incredible that both of you have missed entirely where this poem came from. Ever heard of Theodor Adorno? I doubt you have. Look him up immediately, along with the phrase “poetry after Auschwitz.” According to Adorno, this poem was barbaric.

    Dig a little deeper next time.

  6. Anya Lenin says:

    Thank you, Marivi. I really don’t think that anyone could have put that better. The Holocaust is such a horrible thing that shames the otherwise amazing German culture and history. Germans should be proud of their heritage, country, and history, but there should be NO racism involved!!!

  7. MarivĂ­ Spain says:

    After Auschwitz is an absolutely diret poem. It makes us think about the cruelty of the Human Being.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Do you have any comments, criticism, paraphrasis or analysis of this poem that you feel would assist other visitors in understanding the meaning or the theme of this poem by Anne Sexton better? If accepted, your analysis will be added to this page of American Poems. Together we can build a wealth of information, but it will take some discipline and determination.