Anne Sexton

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

The Starry Night


That does not keep me from having a terrible need of - shall I say the word - religion. Then I go out at night to paint the stars.
- Vincent Van Gogh in a letter to his brother

The town does not exist
except where one black-haired tree slips
up like a drowned woman into the hot sky.
The town is silent. The night boils with eleven stars.
Oh starry night! This is how
I want to die.

It moves. They are all alive.
Even the moon bulges in its orange irons
to push children, like a god, from its eye.
The old unseen serpent swallows up the stars.
Oh starry starry night! This is how
I want to die:

into that rushing beast of the night,
sucked up by that great dragon, to split
from my life with no flag,
no belly,
no cry.

Submitted: Monday, March 29, 2010

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