Anne Sexton

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

Despair - Poem by Anne Sexton

Who is he?
A railroad track toward hell?
Breaking like a stick of furniture?
The hope that suddenly overflows the cesspool?
The love that goes down the drain like spit?
The love that said forever, forever
and then runs you over like a truck?
Are you a prayer that floats into a radio advertisement?
Despair,
I don't like you very well.
You don't suit my clothes or my cigarettes.
Why do you locate here
as large as a tank,
aiming at one half of a lifetime?
Couldn't you just go float into a tree
instead of locating here at my roots,
forcing me out of the life I've led
when it's been my belly so long?

All right!
I'll take you along on the trip
where for so many years
my arms have been speechless


Comments about Despair by Anne Sexton

  • Glen Kappy (5/21/2018 10:45:00 AM)


    with its mixed images i can relate to some but not to others. perhaps because i'm a man? it strikes me that writing their own poems/images in response to the subject of despair might make an interesting exercise for a group of gathered poets. -gk (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
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  • Susan Williams (5/21/2018 3:45:00 AM)


    Cannot read this without feeling her pain bleeding from every word... both intensely personal and about what is universal to women. (Report) Reply

    Susan Williams (5/21/2018 12:58:00 PM)

    hi glen- I was referring to the I-loved-a-man-and-he-done-me-wrong theme that is pretty much universal for women to experience and relate to but not so universal for men to experience personally in their relationship with women. I see no reason for a man not to feel her pain through the images she has chosen, they are excellent images and well-written..

    Glen Kappy (5/21/2018 10:48:00 AM)

    susan, i wrote my own response to this poem after reading yours. do you find you relate to all or most of the images? or, when you refer to it as intensely personal, are you suggesting so personal they're not likely to communicate to many others? i'm wondering if this is a male/female mars/venus kind of thing. hope this finds you tip top, glen

  • Edward Kofi Louis (5/21/2018 1:49:00 AM)


    The love that said forever, forever! !

    Love and art!

    Facing the odds.

    Thanks for sharing this poem with us.
    (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (5/21/2018 1:44:00 AM)


    Well expressed poem by Anne Sexton👍👍👍 (Report) Reply

  • Robert Murray Smith (5/21/2018 12:26:00 AM)


    A poem full of emptiness. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Poem Edited: Thursday, November 10, 2011


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