Anne Sexton

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

Portrait Of An Old Woman On The College Tavern Wall


Oh down at the tavern
the children are singing
around their round table
and around me still.
Did you hear what it said?

I only said
how there is a pewter urn
pinned to the tavern wall,
as old as old is able
to be and be there still.
I said, the poets are tere
I hear them singing and lying
around their round table
and around me still.
Across the room is a wreath
made of a corpse's hair,
framed in glass on the wall,
as old as old is able
to be and be remembered still.
Did you hear what it said?

I only said
how I want to be there and I
would sing my songs with the liars
and my lies with all the singers.
And I would, and I would but
it's my hair in the hair wreath,
my cup pinned to the tavern wall,
my dusty face they sing beneath.
Poets are sitting in my kitchen.
Why do these poets lie?
Why do children get children and
Did you hear what it said?

I only said
how I want to be there,
Oh, down at the tavern
where the prophets are singing
around their round table
until they are still.

Submitted: Monday, March 29, 2010

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