Anne Sexton

(9 November 1928 – 4 October 1974 / Newton, Massachusetts)

After Auschwitz


Anger,
as black as a hook,
overtakes me.
Each day,
each Nazi
took, at 8: 00 A.M., a baby
and sauteed him for breakfast
in his frying pan.

And death looks on with a casual eye
and picks at the dirt under his fingernail.

Man is evil,
I say aloud.
Man is a flower
that should be burnt,
I say aloud.
Man
is a bird full of mud,
I say aloud.

And death looks on with a casual eye
and scratches his anus.

Man with his small pink toes,
with his miraculous fingers
is not a temple
but an outhouse,
I say aloud.
Let man never again raise his teacup.
Let man never again write a book.
Let man never again put on his shoe.
Let man never again raise his eyes,
on a soft July night.
Never. Never. Never. Never. Never.
I say those things aloud.

I beg the Lord not to hear.

Submitted: Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Edited: Wednesday, August 11, 2010

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  • Apratim Mukhopadhyay (12/19/2012 2:58:00 PM)

    Sexton steps out of her cathartic verse fuelled by depression and gives us yet another reason as to why humankind, especially barbarians like the Nazis, cannot be ever trusted. The baby being sauteed is a mortifying image that sticks like hell, and Sexton's despair is made quite apparent in the last line, when the poet of Small Wire discards all hope of divine intervention. (Report) Reply

  • Ken E Hall (3/3/2010 6:08:00 AM)

    The poem eats your inners eats your emotion and I agree with everything you say, your poem is a fist of truth as nazism melts into hell...deep great work
    regards to you in heaven (Report) Reply

  • Linda Jacobs (2/3/2008 6:12:00 AM)

    Oh my god! Right on target.... a sad truth... we are not such a noble breed after all. (Report) Reply

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