There they are
drooping over the breakfast plates,
angel-like,
folding in their sad wing,
animal sad,
and only the night before
there they were
playing the banjo.
Once more the day’s light comes
with its immense sun,
its mother trucks,
its engines of amputation.
Whereas last night
the cock knew its way home,
as stiff as a hammer,
battering in with all
its awful power.
That theater.
Today it is tender,
a small bird,
as soft as a baby’s hand.
She is the house.
He is the steeple.
When they fuck they are God.
When they break away they are God.
When they snore they are God.
In the morning thet butter the toast.
They don’t say much.
They are still God.
All the cocks of the world are God,
blooming, blooming, blooming
into the sweet blood of woman.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Anne Sexton's poem The Fury Of Cocks

4 Comments

  1. jared wagner says:

    this is a very articulate poem. this lady is frickin crazy and if she isn,t already she should burn in hell and get her asshole dominated by satan. shes crazy

  2. Robert Bass says:

    This poem caught my eye and ear — lured me into its lurid teasing innuendos with red images of roosters becoming “cocks” of the penile persuasion; catchy driving rythm, action and words that stand in relief off of the page with their very musical juxtaposition. The rise and fall, hard to soft, and battle to peace images mirroring the sex act were particularly successful. I do not know her work but want to read more. I wonder if it is significant that it is written in the 70’s — the sexual, rousing slightly naughtiness. It works for me — but its weak parts were shown very eloquently by Mr. Penkwitz who commented here (above) last month. Reading Mr. Penkwitz together with the poem again was quite illluminating. I want to read more of Anne Sexton’s work. What does Mr. Pinkwitz recommend? What are some poems by other poets Mr. Pinkwitz finds meet his exacting aesthetics?

  3. Sarah Marie Rush says:

    i’m sorry to say i love the perversity, i love the raw emotion she has put on paper.

  4. rick penkwitz says:

    Anne’s worst poems have this aura around them; you want to like them. If you do it’s because of their attitude not their quality. At the time talking so plainly about religious matter was more profane than it is today. Mixing religion and sex was and is even more notorious. However she also mixes plurals with single instances, such as beginning a poem called The Fury Of Cocks taliking about a single couple. Some of her poems would be successfully able to speak about many cocks and a single couple at the same time; this one doesn’t. However the image of a banjo is an appropriate association if cocks are chickens and it works well.

    The four lines: Once more the day’s light comes/ with its immense sun,/its mother trucks,/ its engines of amputation/ seem to come from a different, if not several different poems, written, or not yet written. It is a amalgam undissolved with nothing yet prized out. The rest of the poem works fairly well, however the line, That theater, fails to sum up the previous lines or give us anything new. The F-word is striking in its dragging the high ideals of religion to the lowest and most negative sexual image she could come up with. While this is praiseworthy in some ways it can only play with transcendence and fail. The idea ends flawed by two conflicting ideas that leave no room for a solution or clear meaning. That the couple is god somehow is challenged by the cock being god all by itself in latter lines. Is the poem a celebration of a joining of opposites or a mere reduction of sex to an active–and therefore worth while partner–and a passive bleeding one. What is the message?

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