English poetry

Poems in English

For John, Who Begs Me Not To Enquire Further

Not that it was beautiful,
But that, in the end, there was
A certain sense of order there;
Something worth learning
In that narrow diary of my mind,
In the commonplaces of the asylum
Where the cracked mirror
Or my own selfish death
Outstared me.
And if I tried
To give you something else,
Something outside of myself,
You would not know
That the worst of anyone
Can be, finally,
An accident of hope.
I tapped my own head;
It was a glass, an inverted bowl.
It is a small thing
To rage in your own bowl.
At first it was private.
Then it was more than myself;
It was you, or your house
Or your kitchen.
And if you turn away
Because there is no lesson here
I will hold my awkward bowl,
With all its cracked stars shining
Like a complicated lie,
And fasten a new skin around it
As if I were dressing an orange
Or a strange sun.
Not that it was beautiful,
But that I found some order there.
There ought to be something special
For someone
In this kind of hope.
This is something I would never find
In a lovelier place, my dear,
Although your fear is anyone’s fear,
Like an invisible veil between us all…
And sometimes in private,
My kitchen, your kitchen,
My face, your face.

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Poem For John, Who Begs Me Not To Enquire Further - Anne Sexton