in the room of my life
the objects keep changing.
Ashtrays to cry into,
the suffering brother of the wood walls,
the forty-eight keys of the typewriter
each an eyeball that is never shut,
the books, each a contestant in a beauty contest,
the black chair, a dog coffin made of Naugahyde,
the sockets on the wall
waiting like a cave of bees,
the gold rug
a conversation of heels and toes,
a knife waiting for someone to pick it up,
the sofa, exhausted with the exertion of a whore,
two flowers taking root in its crotch,
opening and closing like sea clams,
poking at me,
lighting up both the soil and the laugh.
the starving windows
that drive the trees like nails into my heart.
Each day I feed the world out there
although birds explode
right and left.
I feed the world in here too,
offering the desk puppy biscuits.
However, nothing is just what it seems to be.
My objects dream and wear new costumes,
compelled to, it seems, by all the words in my hands
and the sea that bangs in my throat.
I believe if we have to know anything about a poet’s life to understand or appreciate a poem, the poem is a failure, I do know a lot about Sexton, how could I not, but I approach the poem as if I didn’t. And with that the light sockets and knives have no reach to suicide.
The poem tells us the objects keep changing, but they do not. They are mostly static, I would cut that line.
“puppy biscuits” is weak and distraction to me.
The last line is great, and makes the poem.
This poem it is not by any means the best of her her work. It’s ok.
this room in The Room of My Life represents Annes accually life in its entirety.
Each thing she metions is an aspect of her life.
the keys with eyes are the only thing that sees her in life. the lights poking at her are life itself. the knife and light sockets are her attemps at suicide. there are lots more, but i am cramped for time. i love this poem!
This poem reminds me of the short story Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilmore wherein the woman believes she sees people in the yellow wallpaper and supposedly ends up in the wallpaper herself. Sexton seems to be trying to find her sanity within the objects of her room but only finds monotony and frustration therein. What she does find is the 48 keys of her typewriter to tell about her version of her life in a quest to give insight to herself and to assist others with similar suicidal impulses. The objects within her state of mind change and thwart and entice her and compel her to share “by all the words in her hands” via her writing. I wonder, “Does she help the reader, or does she entice us further toward the ‘knife waiting for someone to pick it up'”? Hmmm… I think she senses this dilemma herself in the poem: “Each day I feed the world out there although birds explode right and left.” She is a puzzle to even herself.
after reading this poem, it made me think of my room. how my times are spent there in contemplation. i can relate this poem to one of my poems i wrote months ago; titled “left at peace” this is how it goes>>
Four walls, a ceiling,jailed up windows
still i lay down
trying not to frown
I’m getting frustrated
take me out of this hell hole
take me far away where not a day
is like today
help me find color help me find me
show me the way
to find that bright light
take me to that place
where night is so precious
where dreams are not just dreams
where thoughts dont chase you
where contemplating doesnt exist
where only i am left to peace
Clearly ‘the room of my life,’ is a reflection of Sexton’s mental stability. She uses her poem to break a silence, as it were, each inanimate object representing some form of sorrow experienced by the poet. Has anybody ever considered relating this poem to a dream? A living experience can easily be condensed into half a page, or a poem in this case, perhaps you may want to compare it to the theory of Freud’s interpretation of dreams? Simple objects in this poem have been subsidized into something of epic proportion worth looking into.