Anne Sexton

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

The Truth The Dead Know - Poem by Anne Sexton

Gone, I say and walk from church,
refusing the stiff procession to the grave,
letting the dead ride alone in the hearse.
It is June. I am tired of being brave.

We drive to the Cape. I cultivate
myself where the sun gutters from the sky,
where the sea swings in like an iron gate
and we touch. In another country people die.

My darling, the wind falls in like stones
from the whitehearted water and when we touch
we enter touch entirely. No one's alone.
Men kill for this, or for as much.

And what of the dead? They lie without shoes
in the stone boats. They are more like stone
than the sea would be if it stopped. They refuse
to be blessed, throat, eye and knucklebone.

Comments about The Truth The Dead Know by Anne Sexton

  • Rookie Nick Donaldson (4/11/2009 1:22:00 PM)

    Her parents died at roughly the same time as this poem was written so I think it's about her accepting her own mortality: She knows she's going to die and she doesn't want to make a big deal about it (Report) Reply

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  • Bronze Star - 2,942 Points john tiong chunghoo (9/12/2006 4:35:00 AM)

    a very sincere write about the dead. yes, death is more like a final sleep to me.
    the last call to heaven. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Poem Edited: Wednesday, August 11, 2010

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