Anne Sexton

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

Courage - Poem by Anne Sexton

It is in the small things we see it.
The child's first step,
as awesome as an earthquake.
The first time you rode a bike,
wallowing up the sidewalk.
The first spanking when your heart
went on a journey all alone.
When they called you crybaby
or poor or fatty or crazy
and made you into an alien,
you drank their acid
and concealed it.

Later,
if you faced the death of bombs and bullets
you did not do it with a banner,
you did it with only a hat to
comver your heart.
You did not fondle the weakness inside you
though it was there.
Your courage was a small coal
that you kept swallowing.
If your buddy saved you
and died himself in so doing,
then his courage was not courage,
it was love; love as simple as shaving soap.

Later,
if you have endured a great despair,
then you did it alone,
getting a transfusion from the fire,
picking the scabs off your heart,
then wringing it out like a sock.
Next, my kinsman, you powdered your sorrow,
you gave it a back rub
and then you covered it with a blanket
and after it had slept a while
it woke to the wings of the roses
and was transformed.

Later,
when you face old age and its natural conclusion
your courage will still be shown in the little ways,
each spring will be a sword you'll sharpen,
those you love will live in a fever of love,
and you'll bargain with the calendar
and at the last moment
when death opens the back door
you'll put on your carpet slippers
and stride out.

Topic(s) of this poem: courage


Comments about Courage by Anne Sexton

  • Tamara Beryl Latham (12/16/2018 8:26:00 AM)


    A great message in poetic form. Enjoyed the poem and keep writing. : -) (Report) Reply

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  • (11/15/2018 4:39:00 PM)


    that poem was very good, It relalated to different situations that is dramatic or important in someones life and them over coming these challenges with courage (Report) Reply

  • (11/5/2018 12:41:00 PM)


    This poem is so bad it is worse than the joker (Report) Reply

  • (10/23/2018 8:23:00 PM)


    I love this poem, I believe this has a big impact on what she saying towards everyone who goes through something that they're scared of, but yet they fight through it with courage. (Report) Reply

  • (10/23/2018 5:52:00 PM)


    This is a beautiful poem. (Report) Reply

  • (9/11/2018 7:29:00 AM)


    IT SUCKSSS VERY VERY MUCH! (Report) Reply

  • (2/6/2018 10:15:00 PM)


    Dank AF


    YOBBO IS JOMNO
    (Report) Reply

  • (12/1/2017 5:20:00 PM)


    Thsee words struck deep into me...the measure of awesome poetry (Report) Reply

Read all 8 comments »



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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Poem Edited: Saturday, January 3, 2015


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