Bleeding Poem by May Swenson


Rating: 3.4

Stop bleeding said the knife
I would if I could said the cut.
Stop bleeding you make me messy with the blood.
I'm sorry said the cut.
Stop or I will sink in farther said the knife.
Don't said the cut.
The knife did not say it couldn't help it but
it sank in farther.
If only you didn't bleed said the knife I wouldn't
have to do this.
I know said the cut I bleed too easily I hate
that I can't help it I wish I were a knife like
you and didn't have to bleed.
Well meanwhile stop bleeding will you said the knife.
Yes you are a mess and sinking in deeper said the cut I
will have to stop.
Have you stopped by now said the knife.
I've almost stopped I think.
Why must you bleed in the first place said the knife.
For the same reason maybe that you must do what you
must do said the cut.
I can't stand bleeding said the knife and sank in farther.
I hate it too said the cut I know it isn't you it's
me you're lucky to be a knife you ought to be glad about that.
Too many cuts around said the knife they're
messy I don't know how they stand themselves.
They don't said the cut.
You're bleeding again.
No I've stopped said the cut see you are coming out now the
blood is drying it will rub off you'll be shiny again and clean.
If only cuts wouldn't bleed so much said the knife coming
out a little.
But then knives might become dull said the cut.
Aren't you still bleeding a little said the knife.
I hope not said the cut.
I feel you are just a little.
Maybe just a little but I can stop now.
I feel a little wetness still said the knife sinking in a
little but then coming out a little.
Just a little maybe just enough said the cut.
That's enough now stop now do you feel better now said the knife.
I feel I have to bleed to feel I think said the cut.
I don't I don't have to feel said the knife drying now
becoming shiny.

Roxana Funez 13 April 2012

I love the conversation that the knife and the cut are having; The cut is ashamed of what it is . At this point, i feel that the cut is the writer, or the actual person who is cut. I think that this person might even be someone who is a cutter because of the line, I feel I have to bleed to feel I think said the cut The cutter is a broken person who admires the knife, a strong figure (most likely a male) . So this is probably a metaphor for a relationship May Swenson had at one point. It may be just me but i also get just a tad of sexual tone in one or two lines which add to the feel.

5 9 Reply
Joan B 09 June 2018

Whoever uploaded Swenson's poem took out the formatting that puts the dialogue between the cut and the knife opposite each other in a way that makes a jagged crack down the middle of the poem. I recommend that readers go to the Academy of American Poets website to see a truer version of the original.

1 0 Reply
Kim Barney 20 August 2015

John Richter is right (as usual) . This fantastic poem is all about an abusive relationship and the irrational thinking that goes along with it. I am adding this poem to my favorites list.

5 0 Reply
John Richter 20 August 2015

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this beautiful poet captured the raw and disturbing essence of an abusive relationship in this exceptional poem.... Jesus she is wonderful.... Being added to my favorite poets list..

3 0 Reply
Ramesh T A 20 August 2015

Knife, cut and bleeding are used very much in making this poem!

0 0 Reply
* Sunprincess * 05 June 2014

.........well written....but this poem doesn't suit my taste...

1 0 Reply
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