Treasure Island

Anne Sexton

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

The House


In dreams
the same bad dream goes on.
Like some gigantic German toy
the house has been rebuilt
upon its kelly-green lawn.
The same dreadful set,
the same family of orange and pink faces
carved and dressed up like puppets
who wait for their jaws to open and shut.
Nineteen forty-two,
nineteen forty-three,
nineteen forty-four…
it's all the same. We're at war.
They've rationed the gas for all three cars.
The Lincoln Continental breathes in its stall,
a hopped up greyhound waiting to be sprung.
The Irish boy
who dated her
(lace curtain Irish, her mother said)
urges her through the lead-colored garages
to feel the patent-leather fenders
and peek at the mileage.
All that money!
and kisses too.
Kisses that stick in the mouth
like the vinegar candy she used to pull
with her buttery fingers, pull
until it was white like a dog's bone,
white, thick and impossible to chew.
Father,
an exact likeness,
his face bloated and pink
with black market scotch,
sits out his monthly bender
in his custom-made pajamas
and shouts, his tongue as quick as galloping horses,
shouts into the long distance telephone call.
His mouth is as wide as his kiss.
Mother,
with just the right gesture,
kicks her shoes off,
but is made all wrong,
impossibly frumpy as she sits there
in her alabaster dressing room
sorting her diamonds like a bank teller
to see if they add up.
The maid
as thin as a pencil stick,
holds dinner as usual,
rubs her angry knuckles over the porcelain sink
and grumbles at the gun-shy bird dog.
She knows something is going on.
She pricks a baked potato.
The aunt,
older than all the crooked women
in
The Brothers Grimm,

leans by a gooseneck lamp in her second floor suite,
turns up her earphone to eavesdrop
and continues to knit,
her needles working like kitchen shears
and her breasts blown out like two
pincushions.
The houseboy,
a quick-eyed Filipino,
slinks by like a Japanese spy
from French Provincial room
to French Provincial room,
emptying the ash trays and plumping up
the down upholstery.
His jacket shines, old shiny black,
a wise undertaker.
The milkman walks in his cartoon
every other day in the snoozy dawn,
rattling his bottles like a piggy bank.
And gardeners come, six at a time,
pulling petunias and hairy angel bells
up through the mulch.
This one again, made vaguely and cruelly,
one eye green and one eye blue,
has the only major walk-on so far,
has walked from her afternoon date
past the waiting baked potatoes,
past the flashing back of the Japanese spy,
up the cotton batten stairs,
past the clicking and unclicking of the earphones,
turns here at the hall
by the diamonds that she'll never earn
and the bender that she kissed last night
among thick set stars, the floating bed
and the strange white key…
up like a skein of yarn,
up another flight into the penthouse,
to slam the door on all the years
she'll have to live through…
the sailor who she won't with,
the boys who will walk on
from Andover, Exeter and St. Marks,
the boys who will walk off with pale unlined faces,
to slam the door on all the days she'll stay the same
and never ask why and never think who to ask,
to slam the door and rip off her orange blouse.

Father, father, I wish I were dead.

At thirty-five
she'll dream she's dead
or else she'll dream she's back.
All day long the house sits
larger than Russia
gleaming like a cured hide in the sun.
All day long the machine waits: rooms,
stairs, carpets, furniture, people -
those people who stand at the open windows like objects
waiting to topple.

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 (The House by Anne Sexton )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

Top Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  9. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou
  10. A Dream Within A Dream
    Edgar Allan Poe

New Poems

  1. A flock of birds, gajanan mishra
  2. Lotfi, Nassy Fesharaki
  3. To The Moonbyrd Wandering, mary douglas
  4. My Shooting Star, Francie Lynch
  5. The Lost Colony, Susan Stewart
  6. I No Longer Stand Alone, Babatunde Aremu
  7. The Owl, Susan Stewart
  8. MAZZIN VILLAGE, MOHAMMAD SKATI
  9. The Map of the World Confused with Its T.., Susan Stewart
  10. The Delta Parade, Susan Stewart

Poem of the Day

poet Robert Burns

When biting Boreas, fell and doure,
Sharp shivers thro' the leafless bow'r;
When Phoebus gies a short-liv'd glow'r,
Far south the lift,
...... Read complete »

 

Modern Poem

poet Jessie Pope

 
[Hata Bildir]