“The Wall” — Anne Sexton

“The Wall”

by

Anne Sexton


Nature is full of teeth
that come in one by one, then
decay, fall out.
In nature nothing is stable,
all is change, bears, dogs, peas, the willow,
all disappear. Only to be reborn.
Rocks crumble, make new forms,
oceans move the continents,
mountains rise up and down like ghosts
yet all is natural, all is change.

As I write this sentence
about one hundred and four generations
since Christ, nothing has changed
except knowledge, the test tubes.
Man still falls into the dirt
and is covered.
As I write this sentence one thousand are going
and one thousand are coming.
It is like the well that never dries up.
It is like the sea which is the kitchen of God.

We are all earthworms,
digging our wrinkles.
We live beneath the ground
and if Christ should come in the form of a plow
and dig a furrow and push us up into the day
we earthworms would be blinded by the sudden light
and writhe in our distress.
As I write this sentence I too writhe.

For all you who are going,
and there are many who are climbing their pain,
many who will bepainted out with a black ink
suddenly and before it is time,
for these many I say,
awkwardly, clumsily,
take off your life like trousers,
your shoes, your underwear,
then take off your flesh,
unpick the lock of your bones.
In other words
take off the wall
that separates you from God.

2 thoughts on ““The Wall” — Anne Sexton”

  1. I have been reading about Ann Sexton and reading her poetry lately. It seems she lived her life in poetry as if she existed in the desire for her life to be known completely. This poem opens my mind in so many directions as so many of her poems do.

    Like

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