For my Mother, born March 1902, died March 1959
and my Father, born February 1900, died June 1959

Gone, I say and walk from church,
refusing the stiff procession to the grave,
letting the dead ride alone in the hearse.
It is June. I am tired of being brave.

We drive to the Cape. I cultivate
myself where the sun gutters from the sky,
where the sea swings in like an iron gate
and we touch. In another country people die.

My darling, the wind falls in like stones
from the whitehearted water and when we touch
we enter touch entirely. No one’s alone.
Men kill for this, or for as much.

And what of the dead? They lie without shoes
in the stone boats. They are more like stone
than the sea would be if it stopped. They refuse
to be blessed, throat, eye and knucklebone.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Anne Sexton's poem The Truth the Dead Know


  1. Kaurav Bogati says:

    This poem is Sexton’s Outburst of obsessive world of psycho-epidemic rationalism.The poet herself expresses bitter realities of the heart.i can say that this poem is dedicated to her parents who were died with in the difference of few months.So,the daughter in her pathetic mood.”Gone”, install the subjective world of melancholy sand psychic disturbance because she refuses to attend the funeral procession of her dead parents and “walk from the church” letting “the dead ride alone in the hearse”. People came alone and go alone.The idea of this poem is “you are all alone in the journey of eternity”.

    Critic: Kaurav Bogati
    General post box 24587 Kathmandu Nepal

  2. M. Gormaly says:

    I think it’s profound that she left the corpse to the hurst, the stone boat, and the ground, and went to commune with her lost parents in nature. We are so consumed with the lifeless physical body that we forget it has nothing to do with our essense any more than the “words” that make up the sentence “I love you” or the sentence itself have any experiential connection with the the sentiment they express–they are merely containers in which we hope to convey essence; just becuase you erase the words doesn’t mean you’ve eliminated the reality of the sentiment. I think our fixation on the physical body is self serving. It’s away to seperate ourselves from the dead, as if to say that because I have breath and a pulse I am a live. It makes us feel safe and affirms our existence. However, the truth is I know people whose bodies are dead but are having a far greater active impact on the world in each moment of every day than some people whose biological clock is still ticking but are merely mechanically going through life with no effect on the world around them.

  3. Cait says:

    Its deep, truly. It takes a whole different angle on death and the process of a funeral, and two so close together in time. You can really feel the mind of Anne Sexton in this.

  4. matt says:

    I love it, it’s beautiful but sad at the same time

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