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 - 6,442 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

    3 person liked.
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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 - 63 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. Santa Claus , Banjo Paterson
  11. 61. Christmas Eve , Christina Georgina Rossetti
  12. 62. A Christmas Wish , Eugene Field
  13. 63. Christmas Greetings , Lewis Carroll
  14. 64. If I Were Santa Claus , Edgar Albert Guest
  15. 65. Santa Claus , Fred Emerson Brooks
  16. 66. A Ballad Of Santa Claus , Henry Van Dyke
  17. 67. Christmas Presents , Anonymous
  18. 68. Santa Claus' Riddle , Katharine Lee Bates
  19. 69. Santa's Stocking , Katharine Lee Bates
  20. 70. Grandfather Knows , Evaleen Stein
  21. 71. Santa's New Idea , Anonymous
  22. 72. Nissen, The Santa Claus of Norway , Winifred Sackville Stoner Jr.
  23. 73. The Night After Christmas , Anonymous
  24. 74. Santa's Reindeer in the Sky , Winifred Sackville Stoner Jr.
  25. 75. Santa Claus And His Works , George P. Webster
  26. 76. Wilmington's Santa Claus , Winifred Sackville Stoner Jr.
  27. 77. Somehow not only for Christmas , John Greenleaf Whittier
  28. 78. Kriss Kringle , Thomas Bailey Aldrich
  29. 79. Wishing , Agnes Mary Clerke
  30. 80. The Gift of God , Mary Fabyan Windeatt
  31. 81. The Dear Old Tree , Luella Wilson Smith
  32. 82. Hang Up The Baby's Stocking , Emily Huntington Miller
  33. 83. Happy Days , Rhoda Cosgrave Sivell
  34. 84. The Death Of Santa Claus , Charles Harper Webb
  35. 85. To Santa Claus , James Whitcomb Riley
  36. 86. On The Morning Of Christ’s Nativity , John Milton
  37. 87. Whatever else , Grace Noll Crowell
  38. 88. When the Song of the Angels Is Stilled , Howard Thurman
  39. 89. My Sister Thinks She's Santa Claus , Kenn Nesbitt
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