English poetry

Poems in English

For The Year Of The Insane

For The Year Of The Insane

a prayer

O Mary, fragile mother,
Hear me, hear me now
Although I do not know your words.
The black rosary with its silver Christ
Lies unblessed in my hand
For I am the unbeliever.
Each bead is round and hard between my fingers,
A small black angel.
O Mary, permit me this grace,
This crossing over,
Although I am ugly,
Submerged in my own past
And my own madness.
Although there are chairs
I lie on the floor.
Only my hands are alive,
Touching beads.
Word for word, I stumble.
A beginner, I feel your mouth touch mine.

I count beads as waves,
Hammering in upon me.
I am ill at their numbers,
Sick, sick in the summer heat
And the window above me
Is my only listener, my awkward being.
She is a large taker, a soother.
The giver of breath
She murmurs,
Exhaling her wide lung like an enormous fish.

Closer and closer
Comes the hour of my death
As I rearrange my face, grow back,
Grow undeveloped and straight-haired.
All this is death.
In the mind there is a thin alley called death
And I move through it as
Through water.
My body is useless.
It lies, curled like a dog on the carpet.
It has given up.
There are no words here except the half-learned,
The Hail Mary and the full of grace.
Now I have entered the year without words.
I note the queer entrance and the exact voltage.
Without words they exist.
Without words on my touch bread
And be handed bread
And make no sound.

O Mary, tender physician,
Come with powders and herbs
For I am in the center.
It is very small and the air is gray
As in a steam house.
I am handed wine as a child is handed milk.
It is presented in a delicate glass
With a round bowl and a thin lip.
The wine itself is pitch-colored, musty and secret.
The glass rises in its own toward my mouth
And I notice this and understand this
Only because it has happened.

I have this fear of coughing
But I do not speak,
A fear of rain, a fear of the horseman
Who comes riding into my mouth.
The glass tilts in on its own
And I amon fire.
I see two thin streaks burn down my chin.
I see myself as one would see another.
I have been cut int two.

O Mary, open your eyelids.
I am in the domain of silence,
The kingdom of the crazy and the sleeper.
There is blood here.
And I haven’t eaten it.
O mother of the womb,
Did I come for blood alone?
O little mother,
I am in my own mind.
I am locked in the wrong house.



Poem For The Year Of The Insane - Anne Sexton