Monday, August 13, 2012

Anne Sexton: "Her Kind"

Another one of my favorite poets and Pulitzer Prize winners is Anne Sexton.  I especially like her fairytale collection, but the one poem of hers that always sticks with me is "Her Kind."  To me, this piece really captures the struggle of being a woman with many responsibilities and roles to take on.

Her Kind

I have gone out, a possessed witch,   
haunting the black air, braver at night;   
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch   
over the plain houses, light by light:   
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.   
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.   
I have been her kind.

I have found the warm caves in the woods,   
filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,   
closets, silks, innumerable goods;
fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves:   
whining, rearranging the disaligned.
A woman like that is misunderstood.
I have been her kind.

I have ridden in your cart, driver,
waved my nude arms at villages going by,   
learning the last bright routes, survivor   
where your flames still bite my thigh
and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.   
A woman like that is not ashamed to die.   
I have been her kind.

In fact, I once wrote a sort of homage to Anne Sexton that was inspired by Frost's "Acquainted with the Night" and Sexton's "Her Kind." 

Channeling Anne Sexton’s Spirit                                                      

I have been one acquainted with the night.
A witch myself,
I sailed across the dark sky
Shrouded in fog –
A thin, comfortless blanket.

There are others
Like me –
Daughters of a different sort.
Twelve fingers and twelve toes,
And no place to go.

What poets have inspired you?

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