Learn More

Anne Sexton

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

For Johnny Pole On The Forgotten Beach


In his tenth July some instinct
taught him to arm the waiting wave,
a giant where its mouth hung open.
He rode on the lip that buoyed him there
and buckled him under. The beach was strung
with children paddling their ages in,
under the glare od noon chipping
its light out. He stood up, anonymous
and straight among them, between
their sand pails and nursery crafts.
The breakers cartwheeled in and over
to puddle their toes and test their perfect
skin. He was my brother, my small
Johnny brother, almost ten. We flopped
down upon a towel to grind the sand
under us and watched the Atlantic sea
move fire, like night sparklers;
and lost our weight in the festival
season. He dreamed, he said, to be
a man designed like a balanced wave…
how someday he would wait, giant
and straight.
Johnny, your dream moves summers
inside my mind.
He was tall and twenty that July,
but there was no balance to help;
only the shells came straight and even.
This was the first beach of assault;
the odor of death hung in the air
like rotting potatoes, the junkyard
of landing craft waited open and rusting.
The bodies were strung out as if they were
still reaching for each other, where they lay
to blacken, to burst through their perfect
skin. And Johnny Pole was one of them.
He gave in like a small wave, a sudden
hole in his belly and the years all gone
where the Pacific noon chipped its light out.
Like a bean bag, outflung, head loose
and anonymous, he lay. Did the sea move fire
for its battle season? Does he lie there
forever, where his rifle waits, giant
and straight?…I think you die again
and live again,
Johnny, each summer that moves inside
my mind.

Submitted: Monday, March 29, 2010

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (For Johnny Pole On The Forgotten Beach by Anne Sexton )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

Trending Poets

Trending Poems

  1. Invictus, William Ernest Henley
  2. The Saddest Poem, Pablo Neruda
  3. A Dream Within A Dream, Edgar Allan Poe
  4. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
  5. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
  6. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  7. The Fish, Elizabeth Bishop
  8. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  9. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  10. If, Rudyard Kipling

Poem of the Day

poet James Whitcomb Riley

There! little girl; don't cry!
They have broken your doll, I know;
And your tea-set blue,
And your play-house, too,
Are things of the long ago;
...... Read complete »

   

New Poems

  1. A Most Happy Holiday, Dorothy (Alves) Holmes
  2. Christmas - Christmas, Dorothy (Alves) Holmes
  3. Cage, Sarvesh wahie
  4. You Keep The Sea, Naveed Akram
  5. There's nothing like dance, Yisel Chong
  6. No One Could Ever Understand, Thabang Rakimane
  7. You made me evil, Yisel Chong
  8. The time machine, Yisel Chong
  9. Blue-eyed boy Mr. Death for e.e. cummings, r james sterzinger
  10. Salvation Jane, vince gullaci
[Hata Bildir]