Anne Sexton
Newton, Massachusetts
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And One For My Dame

Rating: 3.3
A born salesman,
my father made all his dough
by selling wool to Fieldcrest, Woolrich and Faribo.

A born talker,
he could sell one hundred wet-down bales
of that white stuff. He could clock the miles and the sales

and make it pay.
At home each sentence he would utter
had first pleased the buyer who'd paid him off in butter.

Each word
had been tried over and over, at any rate,
on the man who was sold by the man who filled my plate.

My father hovered
over the Yorkshire pudding and the beef:
a peddler, a hawker, a merchant and an Indian chief.

Roosevelt! Willkie! and war!
How suddenly gauche I was
with my old-maid heart and my funny teenage applause.

Each night at home
my father was in love with maps
while the radio fought its battles with Nazis and Japs.

Except when he hid
in his bedroom on a three-day drunk,
he typed out complex itineraries, packed his trunk,

his matched luggage
and pocketed a confirmed reservation,
his heart already pushing over the red routes of the nation.

I sit at my desk
each night with no place to go,
opening thee wrinkled maps of Milwaukee and Buffalo,

the whole U.S.,
its cemeteries, its arbitrary time zones,
through routes like small veins, capitals like small stones.

He died on the road,
his heart pushed from neck to back,
his white hanky signaling from the window of the Cadillac.

My husband,
as blue-eyed as a picture book, sells wool:
boxes of card waste, laps and rovings he can pull

to the thread
and say Leicester, Rambouillet, Merino,
a half-blood, it's greasy and thick, yellow as old snow.

And when you drive off, my darling,
Yes, sir! Yes, sir! It's one for my dame,
your sample cases branded with my father's name,

your itinerary open,
its tolls ticking and greedy,
its highways built up like new loves, raw and speedy.
COMMENTS
Deluke Muwanigwa 05 April 2021
With rhymes like these it reads new every time.
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Khairul Ahsan 01 November 2020
I commented on this poem on 26th August 2020 with congratulations for being selected as the 'Modern Poem of the Day'. Today, on 01 November, it has again been selected as the 'Modern Poem of the Day'. Isn't it a repitition too soon?
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Mahtab Bangalee 01 November 2020
My father hovered over the Yorkshire pudding and the beef: a peddler, a hawker, a merchant and an Indian chief. /// for every well characterized man the woman becomes good Dame and for every well characterized woman the man becomes good Knight! ///
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Kumarmani Mahakul 01 November 2020
Each word is understood well. Father's talk motivates nicely to a child. The thread of relationship is understood. A person should leave greed and accept peace in life. An amazing poem is well penned.
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Dr Antony Theodore 01 November 2020
My father hovered over the Yorkshire pudding and the beef: a peddler, a hawker, a merchant and an Indian chief. Agreat poem. tony
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SURESH 01 November 2020
Situations are still the same on American roads
0 0 Reply
A very interesting poem indeed
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Khairul Ahsan 26 August 2020
I am not sure what to say about this poem, but my thoughts, I would say, are similar to those of poet Luis Estable. The best lines of the poem that I loved are: 'Each night at home my father was in love with maps while the radio fought its battles with Nazis and Japs'. Congratulations on achieving the honor of 'Modern Poem of the Day'!
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Deepak Kumar Pattanayak 25 August 2020
Salesmanship is an art which is so brilliantly portrayed here, very well crafted 10+++
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Mahtab Bangalee 25 August 2020
And when you drive off, my darling, Yes, sir! Yes, sir! It's one for my dame, your sample cases branded with my father's name, your itinerary open, its tolls ticking and greedy, its highways built up like new loves, raw and speedy.......Beautiful and impeccable poetry; A fluent description of an active life; I was fascinated by reading this poem
1 0 Reply

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