Christmas Poems - Poems For Christmas

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Christmas Eve - Poem by Anne Sexton

Oh sharp diamond, my mother!
I could not count the cost
of all your faces, your moods-
that present that I lost.
Sweet girl, my deathbed,
my jewel-fingered lady,
your portrait flickered all night
by the bulbs of the tree.

Your face as calm as the moon
over a mannered sea,
presided at the family reunion,
the twelve grandchildren
you used to wear on your wrist,
a three-months-old baby,
a fat check you never wrote,
the red-haired toddler who danced the twist,
your aging daughters, each one a wife,
each one talking to the family cook,
each one avoiding your portrait,
each one aping your life.

Later, after the party,
after the house went to bed,
I sat up drinking the Christmas brandy,
watching your picture,
letting the tree move in and out of focus.
The bulbs vibrated.
They were a halo over your forehead.
Then they were a beehive,
blue, yellow, green, red;
each with its own juice, each hot and alive
stinging your face. But you did not move.
I continued to watch, forcing myself,
waiting, inexhaustible, thirty-five.

I wanted your eyes, like the shadows
of two small birds, to change.
But they did not age.
The smile that gathered me in, all wit,
all charm, was invincible.
Hour after hour I looked at your face
but I could not pull the roots out of it.
Then I watched how the sun hit your red sweater, your withered neck,
your badly painted flesh-pink skin.
You who led me by the nose, I saw you as you were.
Then I thought of your body
as one thinks of murder-

Then I said Mary-
Mary, Mary, forgive me
and then I touched a present for the child,
the last I bred before your death;
and then I touched my breast
and then I touched the floor
and then my breast again as if,
somehow, it were one of yours.

Comments about Christmas Eve by Anne Sexton

  • Gold Star - 4,921 Points John Richter (12/2/2014 7:47:00 AM)

    Inspired? Can you expand on that? What does this poem mean to you? How does it inspire you? The woman presents a schism here (to me.) A variant of different moods, temperament, feelings toward her mother - who we find has passed by this time - and then inspired herself by the child last born before her mother's death.... From anger, resentment, hatred and even murder, to regret, guilt, and corporal love of her mother - the soothing touch that only a mother's body can present.... An incredibly lovely - surreal poem. (Report) Reply

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  • Rookie - 6 Points Dawn Fuzan (4/28/2014 4:11:00 PM)

    I am inspired by this poem , its interesting (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 50 Points Amy Marie (12/26/2010 9:01:00 PM)

    I love the way this poem fills my senses. I love Christmas eve evenings too :) (Report) Reply

Read all 3 comments »

Poems About Christmas

  1. 51. Christmas Eve , Anne Sexton
  2. 52. Snowball , Shel Silverstein
  3. 53. At The Fishhouses , Elizabeth Bishop
  4. 54. Star Of My Heart , Vachel Lindsay
  5. 55. The Cremona Violin , Amy Lowell
  6. 56. Santa Claus In The Bush , Banjo Paterson
  7. 57. A Tale Of Christmas Eve , William Topaz McGonagall
  8. 58. Christmas Fancies , Ella Wheeler Wilcox
  9. 59. December 25 , David Lehman
  10. 60. Talking Turkeys! , Benjamin Zephaniah
  11. 61. I'M Walking Backwards For Christmas , Spike Milligan
  12. 62. Jest 'Fore Christmas , Eugene Field
  13. 63. A Christmas Tree! A Christmas Tree! , David Keig
  14. 64. Christmas Spirit , Paul Moosberg
  15. 65. A Christmas Carol , William Topaz McGonagall
  16. 66. I Saw Three Ships , Anonymous Americas
  17. 67. A Christmas Folksong , Paul Laurence Dunbar
  18. 68. (727) Christmas Past , Melvina Germain
  19. 69. Christmas, His Masque (Extract) , Ben Jonson
  20. 70. The Greatest Birthday , Udiah (witness to Yah)
  21. 71. Christmas Day , Charles Kingsley
  22. 72. Marmion: Introduction To Canto Vi. , Sir Walter Scott
  23. 73. Christmas - A Despatch From The Battlefi.. , Michael Shepherd
  24. 74. 1005 Happy Christmas To All My Ph Family , John Knight
  25. 75. On Christmas Eve , Valsa George
  26. 76. Our Willie , Henry Timrod
  27. 77. Merry Christmas Kiddie Winkles , lindsey ashton
  28. 78. No Christmas Tree Where It Should Be , David Keig
  29. 79. (725) Christmas Treasures , Melvina Germain
  30. 80. Christmas With You , favie erase
  31. 81. Merry Christmas , Neela Nath Das
  32. 82. The Christmas Homes Of England , Caroline Hayward
  33. 83. God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen , Anonymous Americas
  34. 84. The First Waits , Dinah Maria Mulock Craik
  35. 85. Christmas Day , Paul Moosberg
  36. 86. Where Is Christmas , sylvia spencer
  37. 87. The Trapper's Christmas Eve , Robert William Service
  38. 88. An Ode To Christmas , Bronti Phillips
  39. 89. Christmas Spirit , Tess Gurney
  40. 90. Christmas Is Sin , Ebi Robert
  41. 91. What’s Christmas? , Dr John Celes
  42. 92. Merry Christmas , Atef Ayadi
  43. 93. Goodwill To Men - Give Us Your Money , Pam Ayres
  44. 94. A Christmas Letter From Australia , Douglas Brooke Wheelton Sladen
  45. 95. 1007 Father Christmas - Christmas Father , John Knight
  46. 96. The Celebration Of Jesus' Birthday , Helen Click Roberts
  47. 97. C - H - R - I - S - T - M - A - S , John Knight
  48. 98. A White Christmas , Carla Jean Laglia Esely
  49. 99. Coming Home For Christmas , David Harris
  50. 100. Christmas Glee , Paul Moosberg
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